February is LGBT+ History Month, and LGBT Health, a Scottish organisation focused on the wellbeing of its community, has many activities planned. One of them is this week’s “Living With…” art exhibition. The organization is a community initiative, and that shows even in the exhibition. Admittance is free, and the art itself is reflective of the organisation’s aims and origins. “The art was sourced from workshops and the community” explains Katherine, “there was a general call out, and we got a great response.” The exhibition is very varied, with sculptures, an interactive wall, paintings, drawings, and many more. Some of the artists are professionals, most are not. “It’s really a representation of the community,” says a visitor, “stories by us, for us.”
Although it was not the original theme of the exhibition, most of the artwork is centred on mental health and the struggles one may go through, in life in general and as somebody who identifies as LGBT+. “That’s because of the stigma that people from the LGBT+ community have to live with,” says Katherine, “it is because of that, that the prevalence of mental health issues is a lot higher within the community than for others”. Although some of the works have a heavier tone, overall the atmosphere is positive. This is emphasised by the interactive wall, where visitors are invited to write affirming answers to questions like “What would it take to just be yourself?”, and “Next time you encounter mental health stigma, what will you do to challenge it?” “It’s really good to see this increasing conversation about mental health,” according to a visitor, ”Society as a whole and the community itself are really opening up to talking about health, also mental health, in a holistic way.”
The exhibition is on 36 Dalmeny Street in Edinburgh, and runs until Friday the 19th. For more information on LGBT Health, or their LGBT+ History Month activities, visit www.lgbthealth.org.uk.