Welcome to another blog on caring on mental health. On this blog post, I want to talk about an art exhibition I went to check out over at the SHARP gallery located in Brixton on Brixton road. The private viewing was on the 10th of December 2014. Now SHARP stands for Social Inclusion, Hope and Recovery Project.
Basically SHARP is a specialist team of mental health professionals focussing on recovery and wellbeing for people accessing the mental health services in Lambeth. The team is made up of Occupational Therapists and Psychologists and they help provide group and one to one interventions, helping people develop their mind and body and offer types of therapy.
A bit about the SHARP galley. Now the SHARP galley was set up in 2012 by local artist and carer Mary Salome.
The galley has exhibited the work of over 70 artists and many of whom use the mental health services. The gallery aims to be inclusive to all with no selection panels or screening of artists.
Eventually the SHARP gallery will become the Salome gallary by the end of 2014.
Well what was this art exhibition about? The show was called “Hidden Gems”, and it is a celebration of staff art within South London and Maudsley NHS foundation trust or SLaM for short. South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust provides the widest range of NHS mental health services in the UK.
Although I have done a written blog post of the event, I have also done a video blog as well with narration.
Going back to the exhibition, I managed to chat to Anna Croucher about what to expect at the exhibition and I also chatted to Sarah Josefsberg who is an Occupational Therapist. Sarah had some interesting views about why people paint and how she felt art is a way to break away from the label of mental health stigma.
The first SLaM staff and artist I spoke to was Dr Richard Corrigall is a Consultant Psychiatrist at Snowsfields Adolescent Unit. He is Chair of Trust’s Local Negotiating Committee and CAMHS lead for medical student teaching.
Here Richard showed me his work called “Escape”, which was inspired by hearing a story from someone using the services, although he has recently got back into art, he felt the story from the service user was so inspiring that he visited her site and that got him into paint. His “Escape” painting looks into recovering from Mental ill health, but is also a form of kaleidoscope and playing around.
Next I spoke to Carol burtt who is a psychologist for the IAPTs team in Lewisham. IAPTs stands for Increasing Access TO Psychological Therapies. Now Carol showed me two very large paintings.
These paintings were untitled, but abstract in showing some form of a railway track. Interestingly the two paintings were meant to be formed together, but Carol mentioned to me that it is up to the viewer to relate to what they feel about the paintings.
The next SLaM artist I spoke to was Jill Abrahart who is an IAPTs employment worker. Jill helps and engages those who try to find work. Her painting was when she was on holiday in Rhodes and she managed to capture and paint the sunrise. Jill also showed me 3 other pieces of her work.
One of them was called “lavender” and the other being “view from a window”. Again Jill was on holiday, but she was playing around and experimenting with paint.
One of her other pieces of work was when she was going through a difficult time, the painting was called “Preparation for Separation”. Basically she painted through her expression and her the painting is a moody blue filled with splashes of different colours.
I then talked to Alex Harwood who is an Arts Facilitator. He facilitates two groups one being the Blackfriars CDAT group and the other being the SLaM ADart group. He has been on the art scene for around about 1 year and has done work at the Institute of psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience. The first piece he showed me was a mixed media painting called “what a way to make a living”. The painting which was one of my favourites at the show, was about how travelled into work years ago and parts of the painting is on the tools he used for work all those years ago.
Alex then showed me another photograph picture, which was one of his art work. Here Alex is trying to capture real life.
After chatting and having some refreshments. I then spoke to Paula Mochair who is part of the STEPs team working on STEP art. Paula showed me her photograph art work on the homelessness in India and she showed me the mixed media painting which was inspired by her 3 legged cat who liked to stash ripped up papers in his litter.
I then chatted to Terence Wilde about his 3 colourful paintings, but unfortunately none of his mental health work was on show that event.
Next was Carol Stevenson who is the membership officer for SLaM. Carol showed me 3 of her paintings, one titled “In the undergrowth” and the other called “fishermen” where she managed to paint some fishermen while on holiday painting some waterfalls. Her paintings were based on experimenting with shapes and colours.
The last artist I spoke to was Helen Shearn who is the Head of Arts Strategy for the Mental Health trust. Helen spoke about her photograph paintings she did some time ago.
Well overall I enjoyed attended the art show and talking to the various artists. I was really surprised at how many SLaM staff were creative in their art work. It was great how they supported how art can help others and had the time to even put their art on display. It was a shame I could not capture all the artists at the exhibition, but hopefully I ll get around to it at some other art show, who knows?
I thank Mary and her team on being so helpful for allowing me to help blog the event and I thank Helen Shearn and the other artists for taking the time to explain their artwork.