The illuminating ‘Dark Side’ of mental health, as artists see it

A new exhibition and suite of programs across the Edith Cowan University and the National Art School pool thinking and experiences to create a dark space for unpacking mental health in the arts.

Everybody has a dark side, a place of fear and dread they go to voluntarily or not. Managing that part of our lives is crucial to health and well-being, as COVID-19 has highlighted. However, it requires self-awareness, courage, and resilience to confront that aspect of your psyche.

The process of confronting the dark side is admittedly both painful and productive. Artists have always worked in that penumbral space, on the cusp between dark and light.  For most their studio is a safe place when external pressures have the potential to overwhelm and where the dark side can be harnessed.

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Ted Snell
About the Author
Professor Ted Snell, AM CitWA, is Honorary Professor, School of Arts & Humanities, Edith Cowan University. Over the past three decades he has contributed to the national arts agenda as Chair of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council, Artbank, the Asialink Visual Arts Advisory Committee, University Art Museums Australia and as a board member of the National Association for the Visual Arts. He is currently Chair of Regional Arts WA, on the board of ANAT and the Fremantle Biennale. He has been a commentator on the arts for ABC radio and television, Perth art reviewer for The Australian and is a regular contributor to local and national journals.