Too Many Things (Healing the Troubled Mind)

by Artist Maasai


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Discrimination and inadequate acknowledgement of mental illness as a common mental disorder (a disease that can not be self-inflicted) leads to poor social support, unfair government policy and poor or no treatment for the sick; so this project came to mind as an innovative creative way to provide more visibility to the millions of people with mental illness, which is placed in the context of art and culture. Artistically, the genesis for this project is intrinsically and inherently predicated on the relationship between challenges from my troubled mind (mental illness) and artistic expression. Since the content and stylistic feature is already present in my work, the project is appropriately placed as the next crucial venture for me as an artist. My work has always illustrated emotional sensitivity, which is the signature artistic style I am known for.

The overwhelming negative impact of denying the increasing plague of untreated and under supported care for the mentally ill has begun to affect people from every walk of life. As a result of profoundly painful occurrences (like the mass shooting of children in Newtown, by a troubled individual) it’s an opportune time to encourage the growth of mounting national awareness and social sensitivity about mental illness, to get people to see the real urgency for significant changes.  Art is an auspicious vehicle to further highlight this issue, and the artist is an ideal participant to assist in making the social epidemic of mental illness more visible. My mission is to awaken and inform the masses to affect a more positive shift in attitudes, because unfortunately, there is a stigma  associated with mental illness. This negative bias is reflected socially, in the absence of enough state run psychiatric institutions (such as, hospitals) and in government support program funding policy that prohibits sufferers from receiving sufficient support, - the transformation of this attitude is extraordinarily overdue, the time is now, for this to change.

My primary goal is to do the exhibit in New York City, but ideally I would like to also take the exhibit to Los Angeles. Audiences will experience the kind of chaos that someone suffering from under treated or untreated mental illness generates and the productive life that a properly treated well-supported sufferer engenders. This experience will be progressive, so the point of showing these two outcomes will demonstrate to the viewer what happens when accurate sufficient treatment does not take place and what’s easily possible with invested structured treatment. The visual and sensory elements can stimulate a persons emotions dramatically injecting the audience with new information leaving with a clearer understanding to influence them to take any kind of action for change – due to, compassion and empathy; seeing these two conclusions side by side provides the viewer with a deepened understanding of what it requires for an individual, and a family to heal, cope and live with mental illness, hopefully increasing prevention of the next generation from getting sick or derail a worsening national social crisis. The goal is to guide the viewer into seeing mental illness as common like any other illness, which needs to be treated by a doctor (without insurance limitations particular to care for mental health needs); and also to convey the importance that this change in understanding is going to improve our quality of life.

The important feature of this art installation project is the juxtaposition of pertinent information, thought provoking art thematically related to a sufferer’s experience and innermost feelings, mixed with common images including text. The exhibits displayed cue cards placed throughout the exhibit (created on brightly colored paper to make the cards prominent and noticeable) have information (gathered from research) stating a myth or a fact relating to a specific idea about mental illness, contradicting the false statement, and additional cards note the personal and social benefits of properly addressing mental health – these cards are exhibited strategically to enhance the area in which it’s seen. The two videos play on a loop, a different video on each monitor comprised of images of people who are sick (typically disturbed type) people, indistinct people along with names of famous people and in-between each example there will be a fact displayed. Since the installation will be progressive the experience starts with random images of people with a title (such as, neighbor, lawyer, etc.) then the viewer enters the area where illness exists; to noted various options to mental health and finishing the installation with a petition to sign and 1 or 2 computers will be set up and available to send an email to their local congress member(s) or senator.

In order for this endeavor to reach the funding goal needed in 30 days, it's necessary that donors make the minimum donation of $50. These funds will used to purchase art materials, pay for a studio space rental, printing, framing, and hanging artwork, wall-mounts for television rental (or purchase of televisions, if needed), create and edit the videos, marketing, travel expenses, cost transporting the exhibit, minimal living expenses for 3-4 months (such as, transportation, food for lunch while at the studio) and exhibit space rental fee.

With left over funds I would take the exhibit to Los Angeles, a goal that wouldn’t be possible with the current funds.

This project is very important to the well-being of people nation wide and your contribution can potentially change many lives; I sincerely thank you for your help and donation.