A brush with bi polar

FREMANTLE painter David Giles has been living with bi polar all his life.

The abstract artist now wants to promote more discussion about mental illness, so he’s holding an exhibition that shows graphically the nature of bi polar and how art can help manage such conditions.

The exhibition is also a Movember event to raise money to help combat male suicide, with $1000 from every painting sold going to the Movember Foundation.

Giles says that with more than 3000 suicides in Australia last year, mental health is a national emergency.

“The problem with mental illness and the cause of such horrifying statistics is more to do with stigma and the fact it is socially unacceptable to talk about mental illness rather than the illness itself,” he says.

• David Giles

• David Giles

“This is especially true for men who face barriers to talking about their feelings at all.

“I manage my condition quite well these days by taking the appropriate medication and creating a life that provides me with social support and work satisfaction but in my early 20s I was in and out of psychiatric hospitals constantly. Really it was doing art therapy that saved me.

“The Bi Polar exhibition shows very graphically the two extremes of moods I constantly swing between.”

These days Giles owns the David Giles Art Gallery in High Street, Fremantle, as well running two studios at Arthur Head which house 16 artists in residence.

“My art school, The Freedom School, is a space where people feel very comfortable to talk about their feelings and express them through painting” Giles says.

Bi Polar opens at The David Giles Art Gallery on Friday November 11 and continues until December 1. The gallery at 49B High S Fremantle is open 11 – 5 Tuesday – Sunday.

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