To recognise R U Ok? Day and Mental Health Month in October 2021, UNSW Library and the Health Promotions Unit hosted Mental Health and me, an exhibition of digital art by UNSW students showcasing their unique mental health journeys. This online exhibition aims to help destigmatize mental illness in our UNSW community and, in the spirit of R U OK? Day, start conversations that could change a life.
Congratulations to the prize winners
An art prize of $1000 and a Community Choice prize of $500 was awarded to two students featured in the exhibition, with funding provided by UNSW Health.
Master of Architecture student Kalpana Sagar was awarded the Mental Health and me Art Prize for her work My Happy Place (left image above). In this artwork she shares her cherished memories celebrating Deepavali with her family once a year when she flies home.
“I usually do doodles and write poems about myself which I go through once in a while to learn about my younger self and be kinder to my present myself. I have never depicted my mental health through artwork and it is really nice to be able to explore my happy place through this exhibition.”
Bachelor of Design student Jessica Scandurra received the most votes in the Community Choice prize for her work Chrysalis (right image above). The artwork explores a transitional state in a journey from depression and internalised homophobia to acceptance and healing.
“I used to do a lot of expressive art based on how I was feeling and my mental health, and at the time it was really therapeutic but as I started learning how to manage my mental health, I made a lot less of that kind of art. I kind of took a break for a couple of years to work on some other projects and really focus on myself away from social media and the public sphere where I was posting all those really personal pieces, it's been quite a while and I think the last mental-health based piece I did before this was my HSC Body of Work in 2019. A friend forwarded me the notification for the exhibition and I thought it would be really nice to revisit the subject in my art, especially now that I'm in a really good place and have a new perspective on my own mental health journey.”
The Mental Health and me Art Prize was awarded by a judging panel that included:
- Jackson Mann - Curator, Special Collections and Exhibitions, UNSW Library
- Elena Taylor - Senior Curator, UNSW Art Collection
- Beverly Veasey - Digital Communications Manager, UNSW Health and Wellbeing
- Claire Goodall - Education Manager, R U OK?
- Karan Shekhawat - Arc Disabilities Officer