Art-making as therapy

The walls of Wild Garden, the café at Amethyst, are adorned with artworks of several individuals.

Published: 19th July 2022 11:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th July 2022 04:29 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The walls of Wild Garden, the café at Amethyst, are adorned with artworks of several individuals. Some of the works show the hand of a seasoned artist while others are understandably novice. They all vary in theme and style, but they all have one thing in common — the works are made by individuals who at some point have been associated with the Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF), seeking treatment for mental health issues, and so, the show is titled “Art and Mental Health”.

Therapeutic effect of art

‘Art and Mental Health’ will be
on display at Wild Garden Café,
Amethyst till July 21 | sriram r

Unlike what one might think about art by people with mental health conditions, the works don’t always reflect the inner world of the artists, neither do they provide any glimpse into their mental turmoil. Dr R Mangala, assistant director (awareness), SCARF, said about the show, “Many of the artworks featured here are quite objective and representational, like landscapes and portraits. The individuals who drew them took to art because of its therapeutic effect on them.”A total of 54 paintings are on display at the gallery, all of them for sale, and the proceeds will go directly to the artist or to SCARF, depending on what each artist wishes.

Buoyed by the response

This is the second art exhibition SCARF has organised, and with the response it has received, the organisation is mulling holding more such shows. “The response to this event has been overwhelming in terms of stimulating conversations around mental health and intellectual disability. We’ve also received response from other people with mental health issues, and all of this is very encouraging. We might hold more such shows in the future,” Dr Mangala added.

The artists whose works have found their way into the show are for the most part schizophrenia patients as well as people with other conditions like clinical depression, said an organiser at the exhibition, adding that many of the patients found the process of art-making a therapeutic activity.

Of all the works featured, one man’s work stands out — V K Satyendran, an established artist who has held solo shows in the past, has featured some of his works here. He combines abstraction with figurative shapes in a series of works in pen-and-ink and poster colours. And some of them do offer up some surreal imagery. Satyendran, said Dr Mangala, had struggled with schizophrenia, and his works are usually a reflection of his mental state at the time of their making.



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