NPA Lab | 2021

 

A Quiet Blue Wall

Content warning, the following discussion revolves around suicide.

 

Laura Mohapi

Laura Mohapi is a research-led, multidisciplinary artist based in the UK. She is an advocate for global societal change. She mixes research with lived experience. For A Quiet Blue Wall, she is drawing on her lived experience with suicide. At the age of 25, after a series of traumatic events and interactions, she chose to end her life. On finding herself still alive she resolved to learn to live better and to understand what living better meant, both for herself and for others facing human-made difficulties, especially those who are often unheard or not listened to.

Kerry Fox

Kerry Fox is a multidisciplinary artist who graduated from York St John in 2019 with a MA in Fine Art. Her work concentrates upon her journey and wit(H)ness as a mother and carer campaigning against the bureaucracy and the fraught officious special educational needs and disability system. Combining art with activism she explores how the process of making and materials gives agency to strength, fragility, and liminality.

A monochrome blue portrait of the artist Laura Mohapi with mid length hair.

Laura Mohapi

‘A Quiet Blue Wall (2021)

Oil on canvas (30 x 30cm)

The seed for ‘A Quiet Blue Wall’ was born in 2020. In response to global uncertainty and mass redundancies, there was some confusion around Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, suggesting that people in the arts sector should retrain and find other jobs. With this suggestion came a lack of value and understanding around creativity and creative identity. Coupled with a deficiency of financial support it was a triggering period for Laura Mohapi.

This years NPA Lab and its theme of ‘Collaboration In Practiceprovided an opportunity for A Quiet Blue Wall to begin to be realised. The NPA professional development program introduces its participants to the tools and resources needed for funding applications and mentorship. A Quiet Blue Wall is built on a model of social engagement, digital and physical, which operates both with the general public and local communities of where it is based in any given year but also with councils and private landlords in having the work exhibited.

A monochrome blue portrait of the artist Kerry Fox looking out to one side.

Kerry Fox

‘A Quiet Blue Wall (2021)

Oil on canvas (30 x 30cm)

The central component is a wall of portraits and self-portraits, each 30 by 30cm, made using only two oil paints: Prussian blue and white. These portraits, painted by Laura, Kerry, fellow artists on the NPA programme and members of the public, are a visual representation of solidarity with the individuals experiencing emotional and/or mental health issues. They also show solidarity for the continued work needed to remove the stigma around suicide and the need to address the underlying issues of societal harms that underpin the poor emotional health in our global population. 

The project aims to run until 2030, the year by which the World Health Organisation aims to reduce suicide rates. For more information please visit www.lauramohapi.com.

 

If you need help and are based in the UK, the NHS has a list of organisations you can talk to. For international helplines you can visit www.befrienders.org.

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