A new art exhibit in Williams Lake was inspired by a local artist hoping to normalize mental health issues and foster a better understanding of people experiencing trauma.
“I was looking at my own art at home, I was mentally broken, but I knew there were other people in trouble too,” Mandee Beaulieu said at the opening of the exhibition at Cariboo Art Beat , 19 First Avenue South.
“We hide so much from it and sweep it under the rug. It is important to be able to speak openly about our traumas and to share how our brain works.
When she approached Tiffany Jorgensen of Cariboo Art Beat to ask if the gallery would be interested in hosting an art exhibition on mental health, Jorgensen said “yes, let’s do it”.
Jorgensen contacted the Cariboo Chilcotin branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association for help with resources.
“They sent a brochure with the call for artists to all the places they are connected with in May and we have 16 artists and poets in the show and some are only 14 years old,” she said. “We had a really good response to put this together. “
Jorgensen said this year has not been easy with the COVID-19 pandemic and many people have struggled.
“A lot of people keep diaries and create works of art to control how they feel. We wanted to organize an art exhibition that resonates with people.
Beaulieu paints and writes poetry, which she has been doing since her childhood.
One of her pieces in the show is a woman lying on her back with 225 butterflies emerging from her body.
Each butterfly represents a woman who has been sexually assaulted who reached out to Beaulieu when she asked.
This is his first art exhibition.
“I didn’t do all of my pieces for this show, it’s what I do every day of my life,” Beaulieu said. “I don’t paint for people’s sofas, I paint for people’s souls.”
While painting, she expresses her own emotions and helps others, she added.
“It is worth it, and sometimes it is difficult.”
Jorgensen said Beaulieu texted her when she was working on the piece with the butterflies and told her it was very difficult to finish.
“I said, ‘I imagine you in the front of a’ V ‘like you’re taking all the weight of the wind, but you’re leading all these people doing this very important thing. I literally walked outside. It was ten o’clock at night and it was dark and suddenly this flock of geese flew over. There were hundreds of them in the shape of a “v” so I messaged Mandee and said “you have to finish it”.
Keegan Follack, another artist featured on the show.
“I am so very grateful that I was able to overcome my mental health and participate in my first art exhibition. When I was going through this, I really believed that there was no more joy in my life, so I feel very empowered to do things and to be in a community that brings me joy.
Follack said she felt honored to be a part of the show.
“You are not alone” will be on display until July 18.
To check opening hours, see the Cariboo Art Beat Facebook page.
Artart health exhibitionWilliams Lake