Over 100 people turn out to celebrate family carers with arts exhibition
EUFAMI celebrated its 25th anniversary between 30 November and 9 December with an arts exhibition for better mental health around the theme of ‘Home’ at the PsycArt gallery. In total, over 100 turned out to celebrate the opening event and show their support for family carers.
We would like to give special thanks to our keynote speaker, Julie Ward MEP from the UK, artist and performer Sven (unik-id), our President Miia Männikkö, and the Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský for his video contribution. It was a moment for coming together across Europe to reflect on progress over the past 25 years for family carers and focus on the road ahead.
During the keynote speech, Julie Ward MEP touched on various issues, including the worrying stats on male suicide, sexual harassment, the #metoo campaign, closed institutions, and the Mental Health Act in the UK. She also talked about the importance of ‘informal’ events like our own as a way to collect best practices, push forward the conversation, and normalise the issues connected to mental health and caring for people with mental ill health. You can view her speech HERE.
“We have to keep mental health on the agenda,” said Mrs.Ward. She added: “We have to be more vocal, more visible, more out there with different kinds of representations”.
Meanwhile, EUFAMI President Miia Männikkö, in her speech, focused on the needs of family carers. She made a plea to policy makers across Europe to continue efforts towards desinstitutionalisation, whilst ensuring that carers are adequately supported “with greater work-life balance, better mobile services and financial assistance.”
Tomáš Zdechovský MEP in his video message made the case for parity of esteem of mental health.
“We need to build a society that takes mental health as seriously as physical health, said the Czech MEP, including the rights of informal carers.”
The opening event, covered by POLITICO, was crowned by a performance by Belgian artist Sven (unik-id) about the experience of living through a psychotic episode.
The performance chartered Sven’s struggle with paranoia and his belief that he was being tracked by a Swiss pharmaceutical company. Despite the intensely personal nature of his struggles, the accomplished Belgian artist and landscape architect believes it to be important to communicate about his experiences
“After my recovery I realised that to fight against stigma, you actually need to communicate about it, so people understand what mental disorder is about,” said the artist in an interview at his home with EUFAMI.
As part of the exhibition, EUFAMI staff travelled out to visit several artists in their studios and carried a number of interviews about their life and work.
You can read HERE about the story of the Israeli artist Gil Levy and his “conversation” with great artists from the past. Or read the highly unique story of Belgian artist Gaston Wuestenbergs who has been producing a huge body of exquisite work from his studio “retreat” in the woods. Also, experience the emotional highs and lows of the work of Spanish artist, María Luisa Melendo who was preselected for the BP portrait award at the National Portrait Gallery in London. She describes her work as “a continuous falling in and out of love (…) to reach a certain essence, when colour is able to go beyond, behind, inside.”
Our blog is a rich resource of very unique stories that shed light on mental health, creativity, and care giving. Grab a coffee, sit back and ENJOY.
Of course, this celebration would not have been possible without the generous donations from a total of 38 artists (including EUFAMI’s founding mother Gusta Frooninckx) from 17 countries who produced 66 artworks for the show. You can view the artworks in our online GALLERY. Many works are still for sale so please get in contact: email@example.com
The celebrations can be viewed on our FLICKR page.