Arts and Minds 2018- Start The Conversation

April 27, 2018

Most of us know someone who has struggled with mental health, be it themselves, a family member, friends or workmates and until recently it was a difficult topic to broach.

Thankfully, times are changing and speaking about mental health is no longer taboo.

This is the second year that Anglicare have launched their Arts and Minds campaign which is all about healing hearts through the arts.

Anglicare Arts and Minds 2018 is about continuing the conversation around mental health.

Their ethos is that the more we talk about mental health the more inclusive and accepting our culture will be about asking for help.

She Society felt privileged and humbled to be invited along to preview this year’s amazing campaign.

Anglicare teamed with GOA in an exciting initiative where five established artists teamed with five emerging artists to create a work of art over the course of a day.

The conversations between the artists were filmed and these short films form a web series which will be shown on the Arts&Minds website and through 35 GOA billboards around Brisbane.

You’re invited to comment on the billboards with selected comments posted live – extending the conversation.

The artists

The leading artists who have given their time and creativity to the Arts and Minds project include:

  • Tracey Keller, best known for her bright and cheerful animal canvases.
  • Sean Leahy, political cartoonist for the Courier Mail.
  • Tracey Eaton, internationally renowned for her colourful and uplifting works.
  • Matt Stewart, whose works are described as Pop -art with a Street-art edge, and
  • Denise Proud, an indigenous artist from The Gap.

All have spent time connecting with the five emerging artists, who have all been affected by mental health issues. They include:

  • Spectator Jonze, a fabulous digital portrait artist who likes to show her subject’s imperfectly perfect beauty.
  • Samuel Dunn, a Gold Coast artist who creates “tongue in cheek” pop art with a twist of nostalgia.
  • Liz Pepper, talented 18-year-old multimedia artist.
  • Marie Robertson, who paints portraits and abstracts with acrylics and “holds nothing back”, and
  • Ailsa Walsh, who paints in acrylics and hopes to change perceptions about Aboriginals and mental illness through her art.

These artists were chosen from over 400 applicants to share their experiences via their artwork.

The launch

At the launch of Arts and Minds 2018 we were given a sneak peek into some of these stories, with the emerging artists talking about their lives.

All had struggled with issues from alcoholism and depression to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They all found solace in their art.

We witnessed their first  tentative meetings with their artist partners. It was interesting to see the nerves from both parties when they met in the magnificent Bromley Rooms in West End.

They each had eight hours to create their pieces with the exact same briefs based on theme words.

These first hesitant conversations soon bloomed into an open dialogue about their experiences, their art and the pieces they were creating.

As the conversations flowed, connections were made and confidence was transferred.

It was truly uplifting to see the creative process and friendships being made and to watch these talented artists bonding in such a unique and intimate way.

Spectator Jonze was at the launch and shared  with us that the mentorship provided was ongoing and that the opportunity to tell their unique stories as artists was invaluable.

After using her art to address her mental health and ongoing issues with PTSD, Spectator picked up an iPad six months ago and now brings individual’s battles to life in her colourful comedic displays.

Through her graphic designs Spectator interviews her subjects and goes through a changing process of creating a portrait which details her subject’s rich internal life.

Her colourful portraits are full of meaning and show the raw feelings of the subjects she has been working with.

This emotional web series provides a way for us to examine and reflect on mental health and the positive impact of art and will ultimately promote an ongoing discussion about mental health challenges.

So look up this April/May and interact with the shared stories on GOA  billboards, via Facebook and Instagram and via the Arts&Minds website.

All stunning artwork will be auctioned on Thursday 31 May at The Grove, Rooftop Terrace in Brisbane.

Mental health is a hidden problem and each year one in five Australians are affected. Let’s start the conversation.

Michelle Beesley
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.

Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).