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Artists with mental illness create unique mural

Thursday, April 20, 2006

For the first time, artists from five continents and local artists with mental illness have come together to create a unique mural that explores the depth of mental illness. Made up of more than 60 panels, the traveling mural is hoping to educate society about mental illness and how it personally impacts the artists.

These are some of the panels that are part of " The Abstract Mind Mural: Art Exploring Individuals Living With Mental Illness." The majority of them were created by professionals who are part of the Aldo Castillo Arts Foundation. Their mission is to promote education through arts.

The others were designed by artists with mental illnesses from Neumann Association -- a not-for-profit organization for people with developmental disabilities and serious mental illness.

Each panel of these represents different interpretations of mental illness.

"I think what I'm most amazed of is that those artists are really, really intellectual, are very famous, they have accomplished a lot but I also think that it wasn't easy for them and I think that's why they understand the issue," said Aido.

Executive director and gallery owner Aldo Castillo was amazed by the artists views of mental illness especially the professionals.

"For example here is about how the artist thinks people that go through mental illnesses fight, how they have to fight for life and to be here you need to be one of us," said Aido.

Neumann association's CEO Ellen Durkin says art is a great communication tool.

"Regardless of your disability, the chance to talk about how you feel and to demonstrate how you feel. It's not about being judged as a professional artist it's about expressing your emotions," said Ellen.

Working with artists with mental illnesses has been a great learning experience for Aldo.

"People suffering from anything is part of our society, therefore we need people to link them and to help them," said Aido.

Ellen hopes when people look at these panels, they will have a better understand of the disability.

"Give people a chance to think about mental illness from the perspective of people who are affected by it, whether they themselves have mental illness or someone in their family but its a chance to think and have a dialogue," said Ellen.

"When I designed the concept about the name of the mural I think that I was thinking about how the mind is so abstract and is that you know many times you really need to pay attention to get the messages to communicate the meaning. Art is also that," said Aido.

"The Abstract Mind Mural: Art Exploring Individuals With Mental Illness" is currently at the Museum Of Sciences And Industry until May 15.

More Information: Museum of Science and Industry
www.msichicago.com

Aldo Castillo Arts Foundation
www.neumannassociation.org

Music by Michele Marsh "Day of Myth"

Bodies of Work
www.bodiesofwork.org

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