Clive Altman is among the artists participating in See and Hear: Art and Poetry for Mental Health. An artist talk and poetry reading in conjunction with the exhibit takes place June 20 at The Reach Gallery Museum. (Photo: Angelika Dawson/Communitas)

Artist talk and poetry reading held in conjunction with mental health art exhibit

Events hosted June 20 in Abbotsford by Communitas Supportive Care Society

Communitas Supportive Care Society hosts an artist talk and poetry reading at The Reach Gallery Museum (32388 Veterans Way) on Thursday, June 20 at 7 pm.

The free event celebrates the works of 24 artists and poets who contributed to See and Hear: Art and Poetry for Mental Health, an exhibit on display at The Reach until June 27.

Twelve artists each created a piece that depicted their experience with mental illness. Each artist was then paired with a poet who interpreted that art piece in words.

Everyone who took part in the exhibit has some lived experience with mental illness.

Clive Altman’s art is a mixed-media resin painting titled “I am the sand and the sea.”

The artwork represents the ebb and flow that is often the experience of someone living with mental health challenges.

Having his artwork displayed professionally gave Altman a deep sense of validation.

He is grateful that this display is open to the public and hopes it will continue to help break the stigma that still exists around mental illness.

“Participating in this project gave me a goal to work on and achieve, something I haven’t been able to do for a long time due to my poor mental health,” he said.

“Creating beautiful objects gives me a sense of accomplishment. I can say, ‘Yes, I created that.’ ”

At the artist talk and poetry reading, each artist will give a brief talk about their work and then the corresponding poet will give a reading of their poem.

Altman is looking forward to talking about his artwork and hopes that people in the community will attend the event.

“We want our art to open conversations around the stigma of our mental illness and around the stigma of parts of our lives that affect our mental health, like addictions, homelessness, gender, sexuality and more,” he said.

The event begins at 7 p.m. Visit communitascare.com for more information.

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