More than 100 artists from all over Cork who have experienced mental health issues have contributed one or more pieces to Cork Mental Health Foundation’s ‘2016 Reflecting Through Art’ exhibition in Cork International Airport. In total, there are 198 works with titles such as Shandon Bells, Daffy Duc, Children of Lir and The Phoenix.
“The popularity of the exhibition is growing, as is the promotion of it,” says Brendan McCarthy, development manager with Cork Mental Health Foundation, who believes the artists get a great lift when they see their work showcased. “It empowers them, to see their piece of work, to be able to stand by it and say ‘I have a mental health issue but I’m still able to produce art that’s great’.”
Martin Smiddy from Killeagh has two pieces in the show.In his 50s, Martin started painting 20 years ago. “It’s a good feeling to paint a picture. It’s uplifting and relaxing. I used to paint goldfish, mermaids, seascapes. I’m not great at 3D pictures but I can draw an image.”
The exhibition has been running since 1996 and is open to anyone using the mental health services. It highlights the importance of art, both in recovering from mental health difficulties and as a positive coping strategy through difficult times.