Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Artist Calls on A[euro][approximately]superheroes'; a Message on Mental Illness

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Artist Calls on A[euro][approximately]superheroes'; a Message on Mental Illness

Article excerpt

Byline: Joel Gould joel.gould@qt.com.au

THE VIBRANT colours of the superheroes in the new exhibition by Boonah artist Mark Paddick mask their vulnerability.

Paddick says the exhibition, appropriately called aBam Kapowa and now on show at The Swich Contemporary Art Space, explores athe concept of duality by marrying images of superheroes and medication for mental illnessa.

aWhat I really wanted to do was bring attention to mental illness,a he says.

aI find that people are pushing for gay rights and equal rights ... but people with mental illness are still isolated from society in some ways. They are not accepted yet.

aYou can see a broken leg and understand it, but people have trouble understanding mental illness.

aSo I wanted to make a parallel between the superhero and someone like the Peter Parker or Clark Kent. They are nobodies and no one pays any attention to them, but they can then take on the persona of their alter ego and become superheroes and be respected, with everybody in society loving them.

aThen there is the idea of someone with mental illness taking this medication which allows them to become a superhero for a period of time ... become somebody, become respectable and become part of normal society basically.

aBut they never quite get there. The medication allows them to be accepted for a short period of time but is not a cure. It is just something to mask it. The superheroes are painted in the colours of the packaging of mental illness medication.

aEach image is not of a strong and powerful superhero. They are all vulnerable and in need of help.a

Paddick suffers from anxiety and while surveying his work in the Swich Gallery, and pointing to some of the medications that illustrate them, he admits that he has atried a lot of thema.

Other superheroes such as The Flash, Wonder Woman and Spiderman will be easily recognised by the viewer as will a series on The Avengers. …

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