Durban Art Gallery: 12 March – 3 May
CHAPTER 2: Empathy & Hope Project is a travelling exhibition in different media, which looks at people struggling with their emotional and mental health, opening at the Durban Art Gallery on Thursday 12 March where it runs until 3 May.
CHAPTER 2: Empathy & Hope Project is a companion to an exhibition staged by DAG last year looking at similar issues. The exhibition hosted by the Durban Art Gallery is presented by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group.
“The exhibition was born from my own experiences of people struggling with their emotional and mental health. I’ve seen the devastation of hopelessness in the eyes of loved ones, friends and strangers and the inhumanity caused by the lack of empathy towards those struggling with mental illness every day,” explains project originator, global mental health advocate and social impact entrepreneur, Chantelle Booysen.
“The selection of works were all chosen as part of the triangle of elements that impacts on the health of our minds: from the inside looking out; from the outside looking in; and when the outside seeps in. This triangle is significant is as represents each body of work as a piece of the complex map of factors that relates to the social determinants in our every-day environments.
From the inside looking out: The body of work called Paradise, by the late Thabiso Sekgala, depicts a severe and sincere sense of loneliness of space, structures and a void of human connection. From the outside looking in: The body of work called Nyope, by Lindokuhle Sobekwa captures the rawness of drug abuse in the community where he grew up in. When the outside seeps in: refers to a participatory photographic exercise with young students from a Refugee Centre in the Durban area to get young people to think of their physical environment and it can influence the health of their minds. Exhibits include a series of photographs taken by Obakeng Molepe for the Denis Hurley Centre of homeless people last year in his Homeless 101 project.
Empathy for all: is an audio-visual installation shot by photographer Robin Hammond which is focused on a collection of stories which is related to the devastating loss of 150 people that was removed from a government psychiatric hospitals due to neglect and disregard for human life. The installation covers the stories of victims of families and survivors.
“My hope this that this exhibition creates more visual conversation on mental health and mental illness as subjects to be depicted in a humane, empathetic way. This can be one such space, one where everyone can share openly. Creating hope for the hopeless and empathy towards people living with mental illness – that is, fundamentally, what this project is about. As a mental health activist, my work with both local and international organisations informed many of the themes in this exhibition. But it is my personal experience with mental illness that drives me to keep this conversation alive and to create platforms for others to thrive,” concluded Booysen.
The exhibition opens on Thursday, 12 March at 18.00pm at the Durban Art Gallery on Smith Street, 2nd Floor, City Hall in Durban City Centre. For further details contact Jenny Stretton 031 3112264/031 3327286.
Gallery hours: Monday-Saturday 8:30 to 16:00 Sundays 11:00-16:00.
Additionally, on Wednesday, 18 March at 12.30pm we will be hosting a public seminar with four panellists and a facilitator, in the same space, to explore these themes further and engage in in-depth conversations about mental health and well-being in our communities.
Groups are most welcome to use this exhibition as a visual tool for debate around issues of mental and emotional health– special educational guided walkabouts can be arranged on request.
Please contact empathyhopeproject@gmail.com for any queries.
NOTES:
Chantelle Booysen is a global mental health advocate and social impact entrepreneur. She is affiliated with local and international organizations, with her main focus on creating mental health support solutions for young people as well as addressing unemployment caused by mental health conditions in the workplace. Currently she represents The South African Depression and Anxiety Group in KZN as Project Manager and Youth Ambassador; the Global Mental Health Peer Network as Executive Committee Member; The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health as Youth Leader; and The Movement for Global Mental Health as an Advisory Board Member. Chantelle is the Creator of Empathy & Hope Project, a traveling social awareness art exhibition. She also has a keen interest in Law and Policy and recently obtained an International Diploma in Mental Health, Human Rights and Law from the Indian Law Society in collaboration with the World Health Organization; was First Author on a Policy Brief on Youth Mental Health published on MHIN and Lancet Commission on GMH; and is in process of completing her LLB Law Degree, part-time.
Media release copy by Jess Nicolson