On October 23rd to 25th October 2015 I put up my first ever exhibition of art at the Parallax International Art Fair in Chelsea London. This was to be a huge step in my therapeutic journey as this was me putting my heart and soul out there for the world to see and judge.
There were all sorts of reactions and responses and people who have also seen my work at home have given a variety of responses. This shows for me what people’s views are towards mental health issues, to physical pain, and to expectations of the physical form in body and in landscape because my work is a representation of all of these from my own life experience.
To some my images were ‘disturbing’, ‘unsettling’, not to ‘their taste’. To some they didn’t really get it and preferred something a little prettier, more neutral and safe. Overall thought what I heard was ‘stunning’, ‘beautiful’, ‘fascination’, ‘deep’, ‘meaningful’, ‘intelligent’.
My work was an expression of me as my true self, not the false self I have been hiding behind for so long. It was my fibromyalgia pain, my social anxiety, my depression, anger, guilt, despair, fear, overweightness and shyness, aswell as my confidence, self-soothing, vibrancy, and my strength to keep trying to improve and believe in myself.
I came to learn through my own therapy that I did not have to hide all my negative feelings behind the false pleasantries and smiles. The more truthful I was too myself the more I was too others and the more open and warm others became towards me. And so putting this work on the walls of Chelsea Town Hall was my way of saying “here I am, this is me, warts and all, if you don’t like it so be it, if you do that’s great, but I know this is my truth and this is me”.
And, as we find in society, people respond in similar ways to mental health, some are disturbed and unsettled by it and can only deal with the pretty, happy moods and perfect forms But some are fascinated and curious and want to know more, and some especially can see what strength and beauty having mental and physical issues can do to people in order for them to survive every single day.