The Other Side

Post Exhibition Come Down

Finding A Voice 17 was a tremendous success. People attended, discussion about mental health happened, work was sold, great stuff. Don’t get too comfortable! The come down was real and it hurt,it lasted for a long time, it seems only now wearing off. I remember having a big back step, feeling anxious and uneasy after opening night of an exhibition I was part of August16, I pinned it down. I know what it is, but there isn’t a lot I can do about it. It was worse this time, I  organised the exhibition, funded it, was responsible for so much more. It was a lot of my work, there was a big sense of exposure. It was a good example of the spectrum of my practice. Intense line work, aggressive paintings and watercolours that emote, if you have been in that place yourself.  No longer having the fear of the audience knowing more about myself than I do, I was annoyed that I crashed. I felt at ease in the space and enjoyed talking with visitors about the work and mental health in general. Having Jan Goldsworthy exhibit with me too, bringing her expertise in systemic family therapy added a strong sense of maternal or postpartum conversation. We got to discuss the unspeakable, sometimes without words.  A former tutor of mine described how the work showed him the internal violence of having children that he, after being present at all his childrens births had not thought about. I had a fantastic conversation with Jacob Solstice about all kinds of mental health issues and he gave me his thoughts on my paintings then later the exhibition here. He confirmed to me that it the space wasn’t alienatig to men, which was some thing I had been wondering about.

It was fantastic to hear Kelly talk about her struggle to get there and then talk about how 3 pieces in particular “got” being a new mum spot on. This conversation happened a few times as other mums came in and collected round the work and talked. Kelly wrote about her experience here and it made me melt.

So why the super anxiety when it was over? Why was I behaving erratically, sleepless and irritable af? Why are graphic, suggestive, little videos playing in my mind from the moment I woke up? Rendering me useless as they replayed over and over during the day.  I mean, really, this again? AGAIN? I can eye roll now, I’m on the other side.

It must have something similar to imposter syndrome. So many people told me they were proud of me, how brave this was, I am or how they admire this achievement. I’ve learnt to say thank you rather than awkwardly move away. It’s still not easy though, it’s weird! I’m not done though. Bring on the large influx of positive feedback and bewildered panic. I’ll just have to learn to cope better.


Now that it’s done and I can make sentences AND spell my own name ( no really while talking to someone from the NFST communications I actually forgot how to spell my own name) Next I write a proposal for Finding a Voice 18, Jan and I had such a great response from those who came and even those who couldn’t make it, we have a lot of work to do.  I’m In the meantime I’m looking at how to discuss and develope what Norfolk has to offer in terms of systemic care and mental health support, part of Finding a Voice and the Parent Participation Group I am part of is looking at where the gaps are for supporting families. Community is the way forward.

Very soon I will be exhibiting some unseen work at here  & you may well see some more of my work and words in the the local paper, The EDP. hurrah!

Thanks for the photo & coffee Doc Frog


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