Art can provide a deeper understanding of the lived experience of mental health and substance use issues – both for artists themselves and for the viewer. This exhibition aims to
Art can provide a deeper understanding of the lived experience of mental health and substance use issues – both for artists themselves and for the viewer. This exhibition aims to step beyond limiting societal perceptions of these artists as well as showcase narratives that are often left out, misrepresented, or misunderstood.
Tanja Ajtic is a Serbian writer and visual artist. She studied at the Faculty of Philology in Serbia. In 2021, a book of poetry was published in Serbia and is the illustrator of the entire book. Many of her graphics have been published as illustrations in books and magazines.
“I have been suffering from a mental illness for a long time. My experience is partly reflected in my art, as I see the world around me. That world can be full of unpleasant sounds and speeches, exhausting conversations with imaginary people, it can be an illusion of what is seen and experienced. That world of mine is not in colors, but it is in symbols, messages where I am never alone.”
Will Dewgrave studied English and communications at the University of Victoria. While bored in class he doodled away until his doodles became drawings and ultimately digital illustrations.
Will has been suicidal since he was at least 16 and has struggled with substance abuse issues consistently throughout his life, culminating in a recent overdose which hospitalized him. Will has also been forcibly hospitalized due to a purported mental illness, which he still questions. While he believes he has depression, he resents the designation of schizoaffective and believes instead that he is spiritually awakening.
This experience informs his slanted outlook on the world, which he translates into art through a love of technical mastery and thematic message. Will considers himself to be conceptually synesthetic, matching ideas together at obtuse angles in order to develop more holistic understandings of the world around him in a metaphysical sense.
This exhibition was co-curated by Yuri Arajs, Director/Curator at Outsiders and Others, and Seema Shah who is a self-taught artist with lived experience of mental health issues.
November 30 (Wednesday) 11:00 am - December 17 (Saturday) 4:00 pm
Outsiders and Others
716 East Hastings Street, V6A 1R5