Emma Mary Sked’s childhood greatly impacted her mental health as an adult.
And now, the Brock Visual Arts student is channelling her life experiences into a new exhibition opening Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).
Maybe You Should Drive is a mixed media exhibition featuring a collection of art books and brightly coloured fabric animals depicting the fragility and comfort of childhood, and the lived experience of adults with mental illness.
The exhibition features work that culminated from the artist’s studies in the VISA 3F99 Independent Study course at MIWSFPA. Sked completed the project under the guidance of Visual Arts Associate Professor Shawn Serfas.
“VISA 3F99 engages a heightened level of creative and critical literacy for our undergraduate students,” Serfas explained. “Emma’s exhibition explores the complex relational narratives between mental health and creativity.”
Sked felt it important to use her own experience with mental illness and addiction as inspiration for the featured work.
“When I was a kid I moved a lot, which really impacted how I coped with things and I now struggle with anxiety and depression,” she shared. “Now that I’ve grown up, I’ve met people who have developed mental illness that they also have to cope with every day and they will be able to relate to this work and make connections to their own life.”
Sked chose to explore the use of art books and tactile objects for this project so that viewers could interact with the subject matter on a more immersive level.
She also hopes the exhibition will encourage others to share their own experiences in order to find support and develop their own coping mechanisms.
“It’s not just about the negative impacts of these issues,” she stressed. “It’s about bringing hope to people and showing them that they aren’t alone.”
Maybe You Should Drive will be installed in the VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at the MIWSFPA from Nov. 13 to 27.
An opening reception will also be held in the Gallery on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m.
The event is free and suitable for all audiences.