Affective disorder patients unveil 'Blue Dreams' at exhibition
A special art exhibition, revealing the mental world of affective disorder patients, opened to the public at the Shanghai Mental Health Center's Rehabilitation Daycare Center on Wednesday.
The exhibition – at the downtown center's "No. 600 Gallery" – is called Blue Dreams and is the second show at the gallery showcasing the inner world of patients who live with mental illness, depicting their fight against the disease.
Blue Dreams has brought together artists, who are willing to tell their stories and show their emotions.
"Painting can help me relieve negative emotions, immerse myself in my own world, and enjoy the feeling of emptying and relaxing myself," said an artist suffering from bipolar disorder, who calls herself Cracks.
"There is this feeling sometimes in me, like water entangled in my body. I am tightly bound, but my will is free, it flows out of my body," Cracks explained, pointing at one of her paintings, named "Water".
All the paintings at the exhibition were created by affective disorder patients.
"Each piece is a self-portrait in a certain sense," said Chen Mengyuan, in charge of the planning the show. "Behind the power of symbolic language and metaphor is the expression of a dialogue between the artist patients and their mental world."
The reason for choosing "Blue Dreams" as the theme of the exhibition was to lead visitors to understand the topic of emotional disorder from a different perspective, and invite them to enter the beautiful spiritual world of the artists, Chen added.
People who suffer from affective disorder always struggle with their unstable feeling and emotions. The most common affective disorders are depression and bipolar disorder, according to Dr Chen Jun, chief of the SMHC's affective disorder department.
"In my work, I have met many artists who suffer from bipolar disorder or who are troubled by emotional problems," said Chen Zhimin, a doctor on the exhibition planning team.
"I like them, and I like to stay with them, learn from their experiences, admire their talents, and care about their suffering."
The "No. 600 Gallery" is the first art gallery to be set up in a mental health clinic on the Chinese mainland.
This is the second time that the Gallery has held such an event this year. The first one, held in August, was another cross-industry interchange of "Psychiatry×Art" by the exhibition planning team of the rehabilitation center.
"From the special moon cakes to the themed art exhibition, the center is trying to make itself a state-level model rehabilitation center," its director Xu Yifeng said.
"All the paintings displayed at the 'No. 600 Gallery' focus on the topic of mental health. Most of them come from artists who are diagnosed with affective disorders or suffer from depressions. Visitors can feel the power of the artists' hope for self-breakthrough from the paintings."
The free exhibition opens from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm at Shanghai Mental Health Center on No. 600 Wanping Road S. It will last for three months.