Our Exhibition

We created an exhibition as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2023 around the theme of 'revolution'

Alpha // Ableism

Mixed media collage

Patient Diagnosis: 

8E49 - Postviral fatigue syndrome



This piece confronts viewers with the intricate fragility of the human nervous system being obscured by a colossal cross, repeatedly bearing the word 'power.' A cascade of envelopes illustrate the lives lived under policies and media narratives that systematically isolate those who do not meet certain social standards due to their health and/or disability, and who therefore may be reliant on benefits to meet basic living costs. Labelling them as 'abnormal' and segregating them from the 'normal' populace. The artist illustrates the harsh reality of inequality, discrimination and the welfare system and emphasises the detrimental impact on individuals' health and wellbeing.


The prevailing silence and ignorance of the true living conditions of disabled and chronically ill people throughout society leads to a dearth of empathy, permitting the government to enact callous policies with minimal scrutiny. This piece directly derives inspiration from harrowing experiences of navigating the welfare state, accessing needs-appropriate healthcare in an NHS gutted by austerity, enduring dehumanising assessments, and the ongoing investigations into the DWP's involvement in claimant suicides. The artist encapsulates the constant fear and vulnerability that individuals relying on public services for their livelihood face. And if they attempt to access mental health support their struggles they are then pathologised and trained to fix their ‘faulty thoughts’, rather than acknowledging that systemic problems outwith their control are having a toll on their health.


The piece hopes to provoke change in how our government, media, mental health services and social discourse currently describes and treats those with chronic health conditions and disabilities. It is a call for recognise the dire consequences of inhumane policies and to dismantle the pervasive stigma and discrimination surrounding welfare beneficiaries. Countering the prevailing narrative that portrays them as burdens or anomalies solely due to their inability to meet the expectations of current social norms.


A society unable to provide a safe and secure environment for its most vulnerable members is ultimately and fundamentally flawed.


The page shows the number of Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles that this factor violates by being present in our society.

Please note: The diagnosis used does not necessarily reflect a psychiatric diagnosis received by the artist. These were included to reflect the current practice of labelling and how these relate to lived-experience.


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