Written by Una 20/06/2016
My new comic book, On Sanity: One day in two lives
, is a rather special one. Not only because it has given me a chance to improve on a zine I made in 2008 but because, well… how many artists get to make a work with their mum?
When I got interested in drawing cartoons about life, one of the first drawings I made was a sequence about being stuck in a tunnel with both ends blocked and deciding to escape through the ceiling. This was based on a description I'd read of what it was like to develop a psychosis. At the time, my mother had been ill with delusions for several years and we had finally managed to get her treated under the mental health act. I made a little zine about what it was like to wait with her for the ambulance and sold 100 of them. Now that she is well, it seems only fair that she should tell her side of the story, so the new book we have developed with her words and my pictures is a story of two halves, taking in her perspective and my perspective of the same day – the day she was taken to hospital.
As part of the project I devised some workshops in collaboration with other artists that would help other people with experience of mental ill-health to tell their stories too. We've already been working with participants on the wards at the Becklin Centre in Leeds 9, some of whom are being treated under a section, and the results have been great - heartwarming conversations over tea and cake in the Becklin Centre café and some really special artwork made by people who rarely get to communicate with an audience.
In the next few weeks we will opening up these creative writing, drawing and collage workshops to the public at the gallery and project space Union 105 on Chapeltown Road. Dates and times below. Everyone is welcome to attend the sessions, because everyone has had their lives touched by mental ill-health, whether it is personal experience or that of a family member. Bring us your stories and we will help you make them into wonderful words and images. Participants get a free, signed copy of the specially published full colour comic, On Sanity: One Day In Two Lives. The book will be available for general sale from mid July in independent comics and book stores.
There will also be two public talks at Inkwell, a creative well-being centre, on Potternewton Lane. The first talk on Thursday 23rd June at 7pm features me and my mum and is also the launch for the brand new comic book, so you can get your hands on an exclusive signed copy of On Sanity by coming to this talk. The second talk on Thursday 30th June features me and Darryl Cunningham, a well known comics author/artist
whose book Psychiatric Tales tells of what it's like to be on both sides of the mental health services.
Once all the workshops are finished, the artwork made there will be collected and compiled into a zine, which will available free to the public and provide an insight into the various experiences of mental ill-health and recovery.
Dates and times of talks and comics and zines workshops and talks.
Two talks at Inkwell, Potternewton Lane:
Four comics and zines creation sessions at Union 105, Chapeltown Rd, LS7 3HY.
Tuesday 28 June 10.30-12.30 with Jean McEwan
Wednesday 29 6.30-8.30 with Una
Saturday 2nd July 1.00-3.00 with Darryl Cunningham
On Sanity is funded by Arts Council England and supported by Arts and Minds Leeds and East Street Arts.