Our Exhibition

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

Just Be Yourself

Mixed media collage sculpture

Patient Diagnosis: 

6C9Z - Disruptive behaviour or dissocial disorders



A series of five hanging masks adorned with collaged documents that challenge the pervasive advice to 'just be yourself' in the context of mental health and societal acceptance. Each mask serves as an indictment of the barriers that some individuals face when attempting to access healthcare, services, or acceptance within society, demonstrating why this advice falls flat for anyone who does not fit the mould of being cis, white, neurotypical, and able-bodied.


One mask lays bare the reality faced by disabled individuals as they navigate the bureaucratic maze of health/work capability assessments in a welfare system that forces them to apply for support based on their 'worst day' of symptoms and then penalises them if they deviate from this, even momentarily.


Another mask highlights the struggles of autistic individuals who often feel compelled to 'mask' their true selves in order to avoid the consequences of discrimination within society and services.


Transgender individuals are spotlighted on another mask, shedding light on the hurdles they must overcome to access gender-affirming care in a society that pathologises and politicises their existence.


Inserts for a commonly prescribed psychosis medication adorn a mask to take note of the dual-edged sword that such psychiatric drugs can represent – a lifeline for some but a form of oppression for others.


Central is a mask inspired by the ‘scold's bridle’, a historical tool of silencing and control used against women who were considered ‘gossips’ or too demanding (of men). This mask also symbolises the collective silencing experienced by those who don the other masks in this series as the suppression of dissenting voices persists in today's society: Their ‘silence is golden’ to those in positions of authority.


This piece makes visual commentary on the hypocrisy embedded in the 'just be yourself' mantra, forcing us to confront the stark realities faced by those who do not conform to societal norms and expectations. Through these masks the artist challenges us to recognise the barriers to living authentically and achieving acceptance, urging society to embrace diversity and break free from oppressive constraints.

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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