Yesterday, I finished up my last season with my therapist before my upcoming move. I began seeing her since returning from my year overseas. It was suggested that it would help me to re-adjustment, and clarify with my decision process moving forward. While I intended the sessions to be future orientated, practical, and professionally focused; it was inevitable that my past and my ‘true’ personality was discussed as well. It was fascinating to learn how we are not only subconsciously shaped by our experiences, but also limited. Hence why therapy isn’t just limited to those who suffer; it’s beneficial to anyone wanting to better… understand themselves and their decisions. Surprisingly, a lot of people don’t… really understand themselves that is.
Today, I had the opportunity to see how other people explore their emotions via two concurrent art exhibitions. The first was David Lynch’s Between Two Words; the second was Hope In The Present, hosted by the Mental Illness Fellowship Queensland, and showcasing the artwork of numerous artists living with mental health illnesses.
Between Two Worlds.
Lynch understood the psyche can be a conflicted place. Just like I dared to delve into mine through therapy, he took a similar path through his artwork. Utilising mix-media, painting, plain sketching, film, and photography, his exhibition is undoubtedly confronting. But personally, I appreciated its insights into the cryptic corners of human consciousness and the conflicting emotions we can feel. There were several instances where I was disgusted, disturbed, but also strangely humoured. It will pull you into the depths of a different perspective of the world around and also within; there’s no staying safe in the shallow end. But even if it’s not your ‘cup of tea’, its ticket price will only cost you about three cups… of coffee.
Hope In The Present.
With just a gold coin donation, Hope In The Present on the other hand was a more uplifting experience. It didn’t dilute the darker emotions Lynch explored, but it definitely left you with a sweeter psychological aftertaste – hence the exhibition’s title. The 200+ pieces were all unique, reflecting the uniqueness (and loneliness) of each artists’ experience of living with a mental health illness. To accompany the story that each picture told, there was also a short biography of each artist. While their individual artistic journeys differed in where they started (ranging from university degrees, technical training, to being completely self-taught), they shared a mutual milestone: a healthier and more stable self. This exhibition is truly about art as a means of channeling emotions and turning the bitter into the beautiful.
I fight with myself, and I found talking to someone helped. Awkwardly avoiding eye contact with others in the doctor’s waiting room also gave me the assurance that I’m far from unique in how I sometimes feel. We’re not all completely crazy, but we’re certainly cracked in our own ways. These two exhibitions were a reminder that, as humans, we can be fragile and frightening, but we can also be confronting, comforting, and of course, creative in how we keep ourselves together.