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A lavish exhibition of user art displayed in Sofia on the occasion of World Mental Health Day 2010
An exhibition of pictures of mental health users was held in the period 8-10 October at Sredets cultural home in the heart of Sofia city. The event was devoted to the World Mental Health Day and aimed at unveiling the human face behind a highly stigmatizing diagnosis. The organizer, GIP-Sofia, laid an emphasis on the abilities, strengths and potential of mentally ill persons and not on their weakness and deficiencies.
Guests at the exhibition could hardly believe that all of the emotional and highly impressive paintings were created for less than a month by clients of the Art program of the Complex for mental health services, developed and currently managed by GIP-Sofia.
Inspired by delusional fantasies and scary haunting scenes or by aesthetic aspirations, or an embodiment of pure talent, the pictures had artistic assets, as well and it was corroborated by Associated Professor Alexandra Ivanova, Director of the Art Therapy program at the Centre for Continuing Education with New Bulgarian University. She talked about art crude style, its idiosyncrasy, origins and impact and was evidently excited because the exhibition was the product of the successful collaboration between a community-based social service and an academic institution.
Undoubtedly, the happiest and most overflowing with enthusiasm person at the event was Elena Ivanova - the art therapist at the mental health complex. She could not conceal her emotions, her pride and love of the clients of her program.