Project coming soon (Summer 2019)
This project will be anchored by the 11 mile swim of Lake Windermere (England’s largest lake) that Jack, Calum and I will complete. It will be done to honour the memory a good friend of mine who committed suicide a few years ago.
The aim of the project is to open a dialogue about mental health issues in young adults throughout the UK (and beyond). We want to find a new way to talk about issues that are still treated as a taboo to talk about for many young men and women.
The swim will be open to anyone else who wants to swim, kayak, row, ride in a boat or walk along the shorelines and join the same journey in solidarity. I see the swim itself as a way to knit together a community of people that have real life experiences with mental health issues and as a way to rebuild a collective memory of a lost friend.
So far the response has been pretty overwhelming and we have had many people reach out to us that want to join in, swim a section or walk alongside. They have started to tell their stories and difficulties, and I really believe that this could become something very powerful. We have been working closely with Ben’s (my friend that took his own life) Mum who campaigns with Mind and the nhs in order to prevent suicides in young men. She is an incredibly inspiring woman.
Additionally the project is already weaving together the personal stories of many other people who knew Ben and have also suffered from depression and anxiety.
Wild Swimming is well known to help alleviate the conditions of depression, even Charles Darwin used it as a cure from time to time. The swim itself will be cold and hard and challenging. But I think that is reflective of the subject of the project.
Finally, once the swim is complete, I will create a series of paintings and drawings to illustrate the entire experience. These will then be exhibited in a gallery afterwards. The artworks will look at the landscape, the community of people bringing together their collective experiences of mental health problems and the idea of connection between the two (landscape and community).