Special Covid-19 Edition
In November 2020 I had the honour of having my artwork titled “Trichotillomania Lockdown Calendar” featured in the Dwell Time Press Special Covid-19 Edition and online art exhibition. This edition reflects on the difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic by providing a platform for artists of various areas of expertise to present their work related to this theme. These works are a combination of poetry, visual arts, sculpture and writing about the relationship between mental health and the challenging pandemic time.
The Dwell Time Press is an award winning, not-profit Arts publication reflecting on mental wellbeing. Produced and curated by Alice Bradshaw, Vanessa Haley & Lenny Szrama in collaboration with Penistone Line Partnership. Founded in 2018. Currently funded by Penistone Line Partnership, Community Rail Network, Northern & CrossCountry. The main focus of Dwell Time is to use Art, poetry and sharing personal experiences as a means to communicate, educate and reduce the isolation, marginalisation and stigmatisation of people suffering for mental ill health.
As an advocate for mental health and wellbeing, Dwell Time created a Special online edition tackling the issue of the Covid-19 Pandemic, offering a platform for artists to present their responses to the pandemic and social isolation and more particularly its effects on people’s lives and mental stability, as well as the various coping mechanisms we use in order to survive and thrive in challenging times. This edition features artworks in the format of poetry, writing, sculpture, visual arts and photography.
By opening up the platform for artists’ works on their personal experiences navigating the Covid-19 quarantine, it is possible to reach out to the audience at a personal level, demonstrating that we are not alone in our struggles, while also bringing people from various backgrounds and demographics together to share and discuss their unique perspectives on this issue, and how the quarantine has impacted their communities. Some art pieces also provide a myriad of advice and insight on different family and child friendly entertainment activities, coping mechanisms and relaxing exercises, to help the audience improve their quality time with their loved ones, as well as reducing stress and anxiety levels.
See the full online art exhibition here
Inspired by the challenging circumstances of the first UK 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown, I created a project titled “Trichotillomania Lockdown Calendar” consisting of a calendar with personal diary-like entries exploring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent Lockdown on my mental wellbeing, focusing on its effects on my Trichotillomania condition. This condition, also known as “hair pulling disorder”, is a mental disorder characterise by the compulsive urge to pull one’s hair, falling into the category of Body Focused Repetitive Behaviour (BFRB) disorders.
The BFRB’s are common disorders that affect a significant percentage of the population, varying in different degrees of intensity and damage, but due to the shame and stigma that is followed by these practices, people suffering from these conditions are often silent, isolated and avoid reaching out to a support system. These conditions are often triggered by highly stressful and tense situations, aggravated by long periods of uncertainty in one’s life, which is precisely the case with the first Covid-19 National UK Lockdown. During this time people suffering from BFRB manifested an increase in their respective disorder effects, resulting in people damaging their bodies and psyche significantly.
With this calendar project I aim towards raising awareness on these “invisible conditions” that go by unnoticed by the public, by informing the audience on the realities of living with a BFRB disorder and also reach out to people suffering from these conditions to let them know they are not alone, while also introduce them to online support systems. The calendar is presenting the condition of Trichotillomania in particular, since it is the one I suffer with and therefore the one I am most familiarised. To better illustrate the daily life of someone suffering with Trich (for short), each day of the calendar is dedicated to the circumstances that were the most prominent and which influence my hair pulling on that day. Additionally, next to each day is a synthetic hair sample representing the quantity of hair pulled on that particular day.
To See my full work check the page: www.thisislis.com/ttmlockdowncalendar/
See my work on the online exhibition here
I am truly grateful to the Dwell Time Press for providing me with a space on their platform, to showcase my work and for the opportunity to contribute to raising awareness on mental health
Thank you for your reading,
© 2021, Luisa Freitas