Gallery Gachet celebrates mental health and diversity in their new exhibit, “Mad Pride | Mad Honey”

As a part of an international Mad Pride movement, this particular exhibit that runs at Vancouver’s Gallery Gachet until the end of July is named after a psychoactive wild honey that can be either “a natural remedy or a paralyzing toxin” depending on the dose.

The paintings of Jujube Jacinto embody this line between euphoria and madness. Colourful and full of life, the paintings are brimming with an almost nonsensical collection of figures. Mania is referenced in the painting title, “Manic Sunday,” but this depiction of mania is full of adventure, colourful, and playful.

This playful and joyous approach to talking about the extremes of our consciousness can also be seen in the installation of yellow hospital gowns, block printed with bees. This small detail transforms a sterilized and foreboding object into a work of art.

Bees appear many times in the exhibit, and though they sting, also serve a purpose through pollination. The planet survives because of them. Suggesting mental health is not only a sting, as many depictions would suggest, but also the possibility of a beautiful flower.

This exhibit challenges our perceptions of mental health by leaning towards the joyful, the playful, the wacky. Rather than entrench us in the negativity that surrounds our conversations about mental health, this exhibit shows there are two sides to that coin. On one side we have the pain, and on the other the joy, the unmistakable individuality, and the colour to our world.

This exhibit is a must see if you want to take a moment to appreciate what mental diversity brings to our world, and to pause and question a system that pushes those with diagnosis into the streets through lack of services and poverty mandated by the government through low disability rates. Raise the rates, support the artists, and appreciate the joy that madness can bring.

“Mad Pride | Mad Honey” is on exhibit at Gallery Gachet (9 W. Hastings, Tuesday to Saturday 12-6pm) June 14 to July 27th, 2019. Admission is free. The exhibit features 4 artists, Jackie Dives, Edzy Edzed, Janice “Jujube” Jacinto and Andrew Scott. Mad Honey will also include a community component collectively-produced through a block printing workshop facilitated by Haisla Collins.

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