The Fragmented Mind takes the dual form of an art exhibition and an open civic forum, examining perceptions and experiences of mental illness and the current state of mental health provision in Northern Ireland.
This multi-faceted project draws connections between art practice, mental health research and lived experience through an extensive public programme of talks, tours, screenings, reading groups, workshops and training events, the outcomes of which become a fluid presentation of information and activity within the gallery space.
Alongside an ongoing public programme of events, The Fragmented Mind features an exhibition of artworks which give form to individual experiences of mental illness. Central to the exhibition is a selection of works from the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, on loan from the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, one of the largest collections of artwork by artists working outside of mainstream systems of art education and galleries, including artists with mental and physical disabilities. Focusing on works from the collection by artists who have experienced mental health conditions, the drawings and paintings on display within The Fragmented Mind illuminate different forms of perception and re-frame how we might think about mental illness.
The exhibition also features an immersive audio work, Listening to Voices, produced by sound artist Pedro Rebelo in collaboration with individuals who hear voices. Stemming from a research project between the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's University Belfast, University of the West of Scotland, University of Edinburgh, University of Dundee and Hearing Voices Networks in Belfast, Ireland and Scotland, the work subverts and disrupts traditional ways of thinking about voice-hearing.
Working in close partnership with other organisations, service providers and users, The Fragmented Mind presents a safe and open arena for discussion, creativity and community-forming through a series of ongoing programmed activity. The gallery will become a hub for learning, engagement, training and support, with artworks and programmed activity providing a means to address the stigma of mental illness and discuss the challenges we all face in regards to our mental wellbeing.
The public programming and civic forum element of this project is delivered in collaboration with Paula Larkin, Arts Development Officer at Arts and Disability Forum, and Hugh O'Donnell.
Full programme of activity to follow.
This exhibition is programmed in conjunction with Lindsay Seers: Every Thought There Ever Was as part of a season of activity at the MAC focusing on mental health awareness.
Image credit: Johann Garber, Untitled, 1990, Ink on paper (Image courtesy the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester. ©Privatstiftung - Künstler aus Gugging)