Sometimes words suck.
Although it sounds simple, opening up and having conversations about our own mental health can be really tricky. So, finding other ways to express yourself is absolutely vital in untangling the mess our brains can create.
To do this, they’ve partnered a slew of incredible Aussie artists with a variety of young people who’ve experienced unique challenges with mental health throughout their lives to create a collection of work that expresses their journeys.
The entire collection is unsurprisingly stunning and proves that opening up about how you’re feeling doesn’t always need to be in the form of words or a discussion. Each piece highlights different points in individuals’ mental health journeys, to help fellow young Aussies understand that no matter how tough things get, they’re never alone – a sage reminder after the year we’ve all had.
Here’s a look at how some of the artworks came to life and stories behind them.
Nick McGovern’s expression of Braiden’s battle with an eating disorder
Nick’s created 4 t-shirt designs based on Braiden’s battle with an eating disorder, with each work conveying key moments that have defined his journey. The visuals are abstract, graphic interpretations of Braiden’s journey, and are framed in a stamp shape to underline that messages about mental health should be communicated freely.
“I would love for young people who are perhaps going through their own struggles with mental health to view the artwork and relate Braiden’s experience to their own, realising that they are not alone and that many people are struggling in their own way,” said Nick, discussing what he hopes young people take away from the project.
“It would be a great result if someone who has viewed any of the artworks in Visible, is encouraged to reconsider how they view mental health and the importance of transparent communication and discussion around the subject.”
Nadia Milford’s expression of Josh’s struggle with OCD
Nadia expressed Josh’s struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder through a performative piece that highlights the intricacies of his thought process. Each of Josh’s thoughts is represented by the individual strands of yarn, exploring the notion that the more he fights his thoughts, the more he gets tangled in them. Nadia chose yarn, as knitting is one of Josh’s self-care strategies in coping with his mental health challenges.
“I want those who may have an experience of OCD or mental ill-health to know they are not alone in their intricate, embarrassing thoughts and behaviours. Along with this, I want those without any experience of OCD to understand the nature of how debilitating and constricting the illness can be on someone’s life. I live with OCD every day; however, it doesn’t define who I am,” shared Josh.
Cynthia Sobraty’s expression of Jamie’s gratitude for support networks
Cynthia’s work expresses Jamie’s gratitude for friends who provide love and support in their times of need, as well as their deep relationship with the ocean. It’s a bright, warm piece that portrays the idea that the, “The sun will rise, there will be another day, and that I have my chosen family to hug me along the way.”
“We chatted about my experience aboard an emotional rollercoaster, and they asked me peculiar questions like what texture would describe my story, or how does water make me feel. I didn’t understand, but I trusted their creative process, and damn they are incredible,” said Jaime when explaining how Cynthia extracted their story and used it as inspiration for the piece.
“This is the perfect representation of my experiences with mental health, and I am so grateful for our collaboration.”
You can check out the entire collection here.Image: Headspace