Art + History | Bethlem Gallery

Art and Protest: What’s there to be mad about?

A group exhibition of artworks and protest ephemera curated by artist and activist Dolly Sen

Bethlem Gallery is pleased to present this group exhibition of artworks and protest ephemera curated by artist and activist Dolly Sen. Dolly became involved in mental health activism after her own experience as a psychiatric patient and as a witness to other’s experience.

There are people who rise up against what has hurt them, whether it be psychiatric coercion, benefit cut deaths, austerity, or any other form of oppression. Art & Protest: What’s there to be mad about? is a celebration and acknowledgement of the role of art in political activism by those who take a stand.

Dolly says: “This exhibition will honour our right to be ourselves and to be treated with humanity and respect, and even our right to stay alive, by using art to confront, to embolden ourselves with, to stand tall, and to show others they are not alone. 

“We need to protest to reject the status we have been given. It is art to create an effect and affect; it is to change things; it is switching the power relation to make perpetrators look like twats.  

Art is our armour to go into battle with; a way to create a world where we can claim some of our soul back.”

The mental health protest movement has been around for decades, this exhibition presents and rejoices in some of the current and recent work coming out of the UK and aims to provide a platform for dialogue around art, activism and the mental health care system.

Featuring: Bobby Baker, Chas de Swiet, Colin Hambrook, Dolly Sen, Nat F (F.E.E.L. – Friends of East End Loonies), gobscure, Hamja Ahsan, John Hoggett, Mad Chicks, Mad Pride, Nick Lloyd, Paul McMichael, Rachel Rowan Olive, Recovery in the Bin, Speak Out Against Psychiatry (SOAP), Thompson Hall, the vacuum cleaner and Hana Madness, Vince Laws and BA Curating students from Goldsmiths College.

DOWNLOAD the exhibition guide here