Exhibition helps raise awareness of mental illness

Art is helping raise awareness of schizophrenia through the annual art exhibition, Colours of Hope.

Held this week in Brisbane’s King George Square it is the 20th anniversary of the exhibition in support of Schizophrenia Awareness Week.

The Mental Illness Fellowship of Queensland (MIFQ) said it aims to raise awareness, reduce stigma and support local talent among mental illness sufferers. Schizophrenia affects at least one in a hundred Australians.

Acting project manager Hannah Hoffman is positive about the public feedback.

“People are amazed by the high quality of art work that are displayed, there really is no difference in calibre between people with mental illness and those without,” she said.

Local artist Andrew Coote is only too familiar with mental illness, having lived with schizophrenia for most of his life.

“We’re not monsters or we’re not antisocial misfits, we’re just doing the best to try and make the most of difficult circumstances,” he said.

He is one of the 150 artists who have contributed their artworks to the exhibition.

“I’ve actually been making art in some way shape or form for a good part of my life, I find the art process therapeutic and its a good form of diversional therapy.”

This year more than $20,000 worth of artwork have been sold, the public showing great appreciation for the artists who created them.

“That’s what makes each and every piece here a little bit special,” one woman said.

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