In October 2016 my collection of work Going Sane? An Archive was part of the sixth annual Love Arts Leeds, which aims to get people thinking and talking about mental health to reduce the stigma so many people experience.
This work was originally commissioned by Hoot Creative Arts as part of their project Going Sane? The aim of the project was to reach out to new audiences, exploring how we cope with the stresses of everyday life and to help us learn how to think more creatively.
My commissioned work was an archive box which contained 52 pieces of work chronicling a year of my struggle with depression and anxiety. Visitors to the exhibition were invited to open the box and explore the work within. This allowed people to connect with the work on a personal level and interact with the objects and text. Love Arts presented a new challenge, the work would be installed in Leeds City Museum across two walls in their Community Corridor.
It took 3 months to re imagine the work on such a large scale but still allow viewers an intimate experience of my struggle. With the help of the museum’s curator I created one overcrowded wall representing the chaotic feelings of losing control. The opposing wall was a sterile ordered representation of my anxiety and need to clean and make things ordered.
There is always a risk when exhibiting work on such a personal level that it won’t get the message across but I received such an overwhelming response to the work via email, Twitter and telephone. One comment read…
…it was so captivating and emotional. I’ve never been moved to tears in such a way before but your work really struck a chord with me.
These wonderful comments made me feel so lucky to have a creative outlet to help me with my struggle. The piece had been created to raise awareness of depression and anxiety and help people realise that they are not alone.
There are several exciting new projects on the horizon after Going Sane? An Archive including a book, talks and a performance which I hope will be included in the 2017 festival programme.