A new exhibition at the MAC is actively confronting the issue of mental health through the work of multiple artists and a series of public events. ‘The Fragmented Mind’ examines perceptions and experiences of mental illness and the current state of mental health provision in Northern Ireland.
Opening to coincide with Mental Health Awareness week, The Fragmented Mind is an art exhibition, an open civic space for discussion and workshops, and a series of music recitals, talks and tours.
Mental illness is now the single largest cause of ill health and disability in Northern Ireland, with 1 in 5 adults and around 45,000 children experiencing mental health problems at any one time – higher than any other region in the UK.
To deliver this new programme, the MAC has partnered with a range of external organisations and community partners including Extern, The Rainbow Project, The Ulster Orchestra and Inspire. Working in close partnership with these organisations, service providers and users, The Fragmented Mind presents a safe and open arena for discussion, creativity and community-forming. The MAC’s Tall 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.
Hugh Mulholland, senior curator at the MAC explained why the venue has embraced the challenge of exploring mental wellbeing.
“The Fragmented Mind programme presents us with a unique opportunity to work with key agencies working in the area of mental health, to draw connections between art practice, mental health research and lived experience. It is a core component of the MAC’s ethos to be relevant and socially engaged and to challenge perceptions around subjects which are all too often seen as taboo. We are excited to open up our galleries to this important strand of activity and look forward to the contribution and active participation of our visitors.”
Alongside the public programme of events, central to The Fragmented Mind exhibition is a selection of works from the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, on loan from the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, which showcases artwork by artists working outside of mainstream systems of art education and galleries, including artists with mental and physical disabilities.
The Fragmented Mind runs at the MAC during Mental Health Awareness Week (14 to 20 May) and continues to 29 July 2018. The public programming is delivered in collaboration with Paula Larkin, University of Atypical (formerly Arts & Disability Forum).
The exhibitions at the MAC are supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.