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Wednesday, March 11, 2020


(Right: Lindokuhle Sobekwa, Self portrait, 2018)

CHAPTER 2: Empathy & Hope Project is a travelling exhibition in different media, which looks at people struggling with their emotional and mental health, opening at the Durban Art Gallery on March 12 where it runs until May 3, 2020.

CHAPTER 2: Empathy & Hope Project is a companion to an exhibition staged by DAG last year looking at similar issues. The exhibition hosted by the Durban Art Gallery is presented in collaboration with the Global Mental Health Peer Network.

“The exhibition was born from my own experiences of people struggling with their emotional and mental health. I’ve seen the devastation of hopelessness in the eyes of loved ones, friends and strangers and the inhumanity caused by the lack of empathy towards those struggling with mental illness every day,” explains project originator, global mental health advocate and social impact entrepreneur, Chantelle Booysen.

“The selection of works were all chosen as part of the triangle of elements that impacts on the health of our minds: from the inside looking out; from the outside looking in; and when the outside seeps in. This triangle is significant is as represents each body of work as a piece of the complex map of factors that relates to the social determinants in our every-day environments.

(Left: Thabiso Sekgala. Photo by Kalpesh Lathigra)

From the inside looking out: The body of work called Paradise, by the late Thabiso Sekgala, depicts a severe and sincere sense of loneliness of space, structures and a void of human connection.

From the outside looking in: The body of work called Nyope, by Lindokuhle Sobekwa captures the rawness of drug abuse in the community where he grew up in.

When the outside seeps in: refers to a participatory photographic exercise with young students from a Refugee Centre in the Durban area to get young people to think of their physical environment and it can influence the health of their minds. Exhibits include a series of photographs taken by Obakeng Molepe for the Denis Hurley Centre of homeless people last year in his Homeless 101 project.

Empathy for all: is an audio-visual installation shot by photographer Robin Hammond which is focused on a collection of stories which is related to the devastating loss of 150 people that was removed from a government psychiatric hospitals due to neglect and disregard for human life. The installation covers the stories of victims of families and survivors.

“My hope is that this exhibition creates more visual conversation on mental health and mental illness as subjects to be depicted in a humane, empathetic way. This can be one such space, one where everyone can share openly. Creating hope for the hopeless and empathy towards people living with mental illness – that is, fundamentally, what this project is about. As a mental health activist, my work with both local and international organisations informed many of the themes in this exhibition. But it is my personal experience with mental illness that drives me to keep this conversation alive and to create platforms for others to thrive,” concluded Booysen.

Additionally, on Wednesday, March 18 at 12h30 there will be a public seminar with four panelists and a facilitator, in the same space, to explore these themes further and engage in in-depth conversations about mental health and well-being in our communities. Groups are most welcome to use this exhibition as a visual tool for debate around issues of mental and emotional health– special educational guided walkabouts can be arranged on request. Please contact for any queries.

CHAPTER 2: Empathy & Hope Project opens on Thursday, March 12 at 18h00 at the Durban Art Gallery on Smith Street, 2nd Floor, City Hall in Durban City Centre.

For further details contact Jenny Stretton on 031 311 2264/031 332 7286. Gallery hours: Monday-Saturday 08h30 to 16h00, Sundays 11h00 to 16h00.