Sunderland student showcases her artwork to tackle mental health stigma

A University of Sunderland student who suffers from PTSD holds an art exhibition to tackle mental health stigma.

By Hayley Lovely
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 1:16 pm

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Su Devine, an MA Visual Practise student at the university was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following a work-related incident in 2017 and mental health is very much a central theme to her work.

Her latest exhibition, ‘Curios of the Mind’ has been inspired by her love of curiosity shops as well as her passion for mental health awareness.

The 51-year-old said: “My exhibition looks at various mental health conditions and I have tried to express how some of these feel to sufferers.

Artist Su Devine with her new exhibition Curios of the Mind on show at the Priestman Building’s Showcase Gallery Picture DAVID WOOD

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“I chose a curiosity shop as a way to exhibit as I love looking around them and looking at all the odd little objects you find in them. As my work is so diverse it made sense that this would show the pieces off well, from paintings to small objects.

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“There is one particular piece that represents my PTSD and how full my mind is all the time. It shows my inner voice working over-time. I chose to use metal for this as it’s a physically strong material, so it shows the strength of my bad thoughts.”

Following her PTSD diagnosis, Su didn’t leave the house for many months and even now can struggle going out alone. However she feels her university studies have played a significant role in her therapy.

Professor Kevin Petrie, Head of the School of Art and Design officially opens the new exhibition Curios of the Mind by artist Su Devine on show at the University of Sunderland’s Showcase Gallery Picture DAVID WOOD

She added: “When I am painting or working on a sculpture it is that that fills my mind, finally pushing all my negative thoughts away.”

Professor Kevin Petrie, Head of the School of Art and Design at the University of Sunderland, who officially opened Su’s exhibition, said: “I often pass through Su’s studio and have been fascinated to see her various sculptural elements in development. This includes doll heads, anatomical models, paintings, and concrete coated dresses.

“What is now great to see is how these elements have been brought together in a complete immersive environment. This is intriguing and unsettling at the same time. This show is not to be missed and I think it will need several visits to really take it in.”