Strike a Chord: Emerging and Established Artists Fight Mental Illness Stigma
The artists whose works are on display at the Fountain Gallery in Hell’s Kitchen are continuing the tradition of Vincent Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock. They are making art in the face of mental illness.
The gallery’s current exhibit, called (Un)Seen, features new and old work, including two photographs by the late Francesca Woodman, who was the subject of a retrospective at the Guggenheim last year. One new work, 37 West, by Davida Adedjouma, imagines the lives of people in housing projects like the ones Adejouma has lived in. A sign next to the piece invites visitors to lift small curtains for a glimpse inside the subjects’ daily lives.
“I was kind of unseen,” Adedjouma said about her connection to the exhibit’s title. “My friends didn’t know I was ill, they didn’t know I was struggling with anything because I’ve always been able to put up a good front.”
Adedjouma has bipolar, and like many people, has learned to live a productive life with it. It is not immediately apparent that her work, or the others in the gallery, are connected to mental illness.
According to gallery director Jason Bowman, the idea behind the exhibit is “artists making work that need to be looked at twice in order for the viewer to really understand them.”
The artworks for sale range in price from $500 to $16,000 dollars. 37 West by Davida Adejouma costs 1500.