45% of the Australian population have experienced mental illness at some point in their lives.*
Western Australia’s suicide rate is 22% higher than the national average and has been consistently higher since 2006 **
On top of that the Kimberly region suicide rates are 2.5 times the state average and more than 3.5 times the national average.***
Isolation is a solo exhibition by artist - Ruby Smedley - thats' purpose is to remove the silence and stigma that surrounds mental illness. This exhibition blurs the lines between mediums in order to confront and examine the effects of mental illness, by recreating as many symptoms in physical manifestations as possible to the artist, work and the gallery. Looking particularly at isolation, body dysmorphia, obsessive behaviour, changes in appearance, sleeping and eating habits.
Opening with blank canvas and paper, of varying sizes, covering the entire walls of the gallery wherein the artist will spend the week isolated. With enough food and water for the 168 hours with no luxuries (of everyday life and the artists usual creative process)- coffee, change of clothes, shower, music, clock etc. Although the artist is secluded, the windows viewing holes where the audience can watch the process throughout the week. At the end of the week the gallery will be for the weekend where the environment and the art can be viewed.
Each process is directly related to common symptoms people with a mental illness experience. The most obvious and one of the most common indicators, is the feeling of isolation or the actual removal of oneself from social situations. Which is also a focal point of the artists work - having no human contact as well as only having herself to paint as subject matter.
The work created and its’ execution are relevant to obsessive behaviour with an overwhelming number of pieces of one subject.
Having no luxuries and minimal essentials, removes the care for appearance in the artist as often these routines fall by the wayside as mental illness becomes more severe.
The artists head will be shaved, the morning of the opening date to recreate a physical representation of body dysmorphia.
The money raised, from sold artwork and kickstarter project, will go to the Joondalup Headspace Centre - Headspace is a National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds, along with assistance in promoting young peoples’ wellbeing. They provide an array of services - centres, online and school support. 100% of their donations go towards research, resources and programs.
*Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007
**Government of Western Australia, Auditor General’s Report on the Implementation and Initial Outcomes of the Suicide Prevention Strategy. DotA General; 2014 40.p The Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015 - 2025
***Government of Western Australia, Auditor General’s Report on the Implementation and Initial Outcomes of the Suicide Prevention Strategy. DotA General; 2014 40.p The Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015 - 2025