Art Highlighting Social Stigma Towards Mental Health Issues

Titled ‘Mind Network-Art for Hear’s Sake’, the exhibition by Reshma Thomas at Women's Club has around 40 paintings
Art Highlighting Social Stigma Towards Mental Health Issues

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Women’s Club at Kowdiar in the city is playing host to a unique painting exhibition by city-based artist Reshma Thomas. The exhibition is being held as part of the upcoming World Mental Health Day, which is observed by WHO on October 10.

Titled ‘Mind Network-Art for Hear’s Sake’, the exhibition has  around 40 paintings. Though abstract, each of the works stands on its own, sending out a clear message. Coming with simple captions like ‘Conformity’, ‘Fitting in ‘ and ‘Us’, the collection seems to show the perception of the world from the mentally affected person’s point of view, being forced to ‘fit in’ and conform to the norms of the society. While ‘Fragments’ shows a canvas filled with a mosaic of interconnected lines, ‘Us’ portrays a canvas inundated with random blotches of colours. Most of Reshma’s paintings are just that - colours coming alive on canvas.

Says Reshma, “My intention through the exhibition is to highlight the social stigma towards mental health issues, with emphasis on the LGBT community. Such people get more affected, due to the society’s approach towards them. I try to show through the paintings how they are traumatised by  society and how they react to them.”

There is also a set of ‘Glow in the Dark’ collection of paintings, which were inaugurated by K S Sabarinathan MLA. Said the MLA, “People with mental health issues are always looked upon with social stigma. They also deserve to be brought into the mainstream of society, for which the stigma associated with it should be changed,” she says.

The event was formally inaugurated by Minister M K Muneer along with artist B D Dathan. Fr Thomas Felix, founder-director of Central Institute on Mental Retardation, was also present. The event ended in a musical note with dance as well as instrumental performances by two students of CIMR. The exhibition will be open to the public from 10 am to 8 pm till Friday. A certain percentage of the amount received from the sale of the paintings would be donated for the education of deserving children.

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The New Indian Express