Art can calm storms
Andrew Serjeant's mind is a library containing hundreds of artist models that he's used as inspiration for his own work.
Without hesitation he lists a few of his favourites - Vincent van Gogh, Jenny Dolezel and Philip Clairmont.
It's hard to believe that despite his knack of remembering key influences, Mr Serjeant, 49, has suffered brain damage twice in his life.
He was born with a detached umbilical cord which deprived oxygen to his brain and at 10 years old contracted encephalitis, a rare brain inflammation caused by a virus.
As a result he's developed obsessive compulsive disorder and low-level schizophrenia and uses painting as a way of controlling emotions.
The Green Bay resident is among six West Auckland artists who'll showcase their work in an exhibition A Fine Line this week at Corban Estate Arts Centre.
The exhibition coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week and each artist has been affected by mental illness in one way or another whether personally or through friends or family.
Mr Serjeant wants art to raise the profile of mental health in a constructive way.
He says his works are self portraits, featuring different aspects of his life.
"A self portrait is about things that matter to you and are important. Art has to be a narrative. It contains things that concern me like the environment and science. It also contains personal anecdotes and has prehistoric and modern culture influences," he says.
Mr Serjeant has held three public exhibitions and says its heartening seeing others enjoying his work.
"It's nice hearing the amount of people who have bought my work say to me, ‘every time I look at your paintings, I see something different in them'," he says.
Corban's curator and exhibitions manager Kathryn Tsui says art is a universal expression and can help in many ways.
"Mental health is something that most people deal with on a daily basis even if it's just feeling stressed in traffic," she says.
Ms Tsui says each artist brings an expressive and individual message through mediums including painting, sculpture, print making and carving.
The exhibition runs until October 13 and is held in the Old St Michael's Church at Corban's from 10am till 4pm.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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