Recently, lecturers from the Contemporary Art History degree have been giving guest lectures in our areas of expertise for the Friends of the Whitworth Art Gallery. Michael Howard lead the audience on a phantasmagorical adventure into the realm of Surrealist Britain, Simon Faulkner stirred up some spirit for Art and Conflict and Beccy Kennedy (me) described how diasporic artists work at Home and Away simultaneously. For more information on these events and the positive work that the Friends of the Whitworth do for the gallery, see the following link.
And on a related note, here’s a blog post I wrote last year reviewing an exhibition I saw at the Whitworth called ‘Who Cares?’.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Whilst ‘Who Cares?’ draws from the Whitworth’s permanent collection of pronounced, expressive portraiture – including paintings by Francis Bacon and Camille Pissarro – there are also some newly developed pieces which have been commissioned or chosen for the exhibition. These include intensive art works by painter Lucy Burscough, artist in residence at Galaxy House – a part of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital which treats children and young people with mental health problems – and sculptor Kevin Dalton-Johnson – who has worked with children at the Leo Kelly Centre at Manchester Schools Hospital& Home Tuition Service. Both artists examine notions of fractured identities and disorientation, with Burscough focusing more on teenage emotive and decorative self expression and Dalton-Jones questioning racial and diasporic hybridity. It is not immediately apparent that these figurative studies are capturing subjects with mental health difficulties but then it is not always possible to tell the multiform ways in which someone is suffering in real life.’If you only see the illness, you miss the person’ is the hook line accompanying the title of the exhibition.
So, who cares? Well, you should. Whilst it’s possible to plod along through everyday life without engaging with fine art, it’s not possible to ignore mental illness. It’s been estimated that 2 in 3 people suffer from depression at some point in their lives, so if it’s not you, then it’s going to be at least one of your family or friends. Visiting this exhibition may not enlighten you towards understanding the intricacies of mental health issues but its very presence focuses our awareness on the fact that it is an issue, it’s all around us and it’s our issue.
Galaxy House project with Whitworth Art gallery: http://www.cmft.nhs.uk/media-centre/latest-news/galaxy-house-benefits-from-arts-and-health-mentoring-scheme.aspx
The Whitworth Art Gallery
University of Manchester
Tel: 0161 275 7496