British Columbia

Mad Pride exhibit offers a fresh take on mental illness by those who experience it

The Mad Pride movement started in Toronto in the 1990s as a response to stigma experienced by people living with mental illnesses. Its aim was to reclaim the word ‘mad’ and celebrate mental experiences of all kinds. 

Show at Vancouver's Gallery Gachet seeks to change perceptions

"It's just a matter of re-framing that mindset around mental health," says mixed media artist Janice (Jujube) Jacinto. (Submitted by Jujube Jacinto)

Mad Pride is a movement started in Toronto in the 1990s as a response to stigma that people living with mental illnesses were experiencing. It's aim was to reclaim the word 'mad' and celebrate mental experiences of all kinds. 

A new exhibition offering a positive view on mental health, 'Mad Pride | Mad Honey,' — opened at the Gallery Gachet  in Vancouver earlier this month. One of the artists on display is mixed media artist Janice (Jujube) Jacinto.

"Being an artist today has brought on a lot of drive and motivation for me to continue. It is lifesaving for me to be in this type of career path," says Jacinto. (Submitted by Jujube Jacinto)

"I have lived with mental health [issues] ... It's been a lifelong journey of finding myself again. I was handed down a lot of labels growing up. This is just to redefine who I am." 

Mad Honey

The exhibit's title Mad Honey references wild honey — something that can be a remedy or cause more harm.

 "Wild honey is sometimes a poison or a medicine. In fact, those of us who take psychiatric medication know that it can be lifesaving or at times detrimental," says Jacinto.

Life saving practice

Jacinto describes her work as embodying both euphoria and madness. That's something that mirrors her real life experience of highs and lows.

"The darker the experience, the more potential there is for you to come out of it. It's just a matter of re-framing that mindset around mental health in general."

"Being an artist today has brought on a lot of drive and motivation for me to continue. It is lifesaving for me to be in this type of career path," says Jacinto.

The exhibit features three more artists: Jackie Dives, Edzy Edzed and Andrew Scott. 

Mad Pride | Mad Honey runs at Gallery Gachet until July 27.

With files from On the Coast

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