by Paula Smith
The opening evening of the 10th year of the festival had a good turn- out at Summer Hall and a spacious environment was provided for guests arriving before the exhibition. On arrival I was informed that the basement was still in the process of being set up and that guests should go into the main hall where music, nibbles and drinks were available. The music may not have been to every ones taste but was certainly different and original. Half way through the music set we were encouraged to visit the exhibition which was now ready.
While visiting the exhibition speeches were missed, which would have been interesting to hear highlighting the importance of the exhibition, mental health and the arts. However the place was busy and the staff were trying to pace out the crowd of people. At the entrance there were very impressive oil paintings of people. They were imposing, expressive and provoked thought. One was the close up of a face with the painting highlighting the sections of the face in quite some detail.
The basement offered a place displaying modern art which was interactive and fun. There were areas to lie down and listening booths shaped like large lamp shades for the guest to contemplate the theme of time. Exploring the basement was like discovering a modern day grotto with plenty of surprises. The inquisitive, curious visitor could have a field day going into the various sections considering the details from different angles.
Those who prefer wall art as opposed to interactive art will not be disappointed by what is on offer at Summer Hall. Water colors, oils and acrylics were displayed allowing the guest to admire, consider and draw conclusions about the work. Some of the artists shared information about their mental health and the benefits of art in helping to alleviate problems. Faces, stillness and stages of time were all included in the wall art exhibition room. There were some impressive paintings revolved around changing expressions and people working.
A display by a woman’s writing group for mental health issues allowed us to ponder on the written word and its relevance to mental health. Pieces of writing discussing the effects of trauma and depression demonstrated the extent of the effect and impact that ill mental health can have on the sufferer – feelings, emotions and thoughts are expressed in a way which makes us stop and think. There is a particularly poignant set of pieces of writing about the changing seasons.
The exhibition is weird and wonderful, offering the visitor a great deal of communication via various mediums to highlight the theme of ‘time’. It is well worth the visit. It is showing until the 30th October.