‘The space and silence we experienced during lockdown has caused a big shift in the way we see ourselves,’ explained Emily Litten, executive director of Guernsey Mind.
‘Increasingly people are accessing our services because they are more aware that the way we are living our lives, and the way we perceive ourselves, is not who we are, nor who we want to be. There is almost a collective scream of “I want to be me”. This campaign is going to explore what being me really is.’
Local artist Tiffany Matthews, of Tiffany Anna Art, has produced artwork specifically for the campaign.
‘I was honoured to have been asked by Guernsey Mind to produce a range of work for their All of Me campaign,’ she said.
‘As I usually paint animals and insects, it really gave me a chance to experiment and try out something new.
‘I want people to be overwhelmed by the amount of colour I’ve used and walk away feeling more confident about their bodies after seeing similar shapes and sizes abstractly painted on canvas.
‘All in all I really hope it makes people realise that everyone is beautiful, no matter what.’
The campaign aims to raise awareness of body image issues and how they impact on people’s mental health. Guernsey Mind says we live in a world where we are increasingly disconnected from our own bodies and where we assume that our rational thoughts represent the factual reality, rather than just one version of what that might look like. To cope with the fast pace of life, instant and constant communication and an ever-increasing need to do more and be better, we suppress our emotional responses and pretend that everything is always OK. Even if we admit to stress or distress, we are keen to emphasise that it’s all under control and we are coping.
The impact on our relationship with our own bodies is enormous.
Our culture urges us to be more resilient, to fit in and to ignore the key moments of our life which in the past may have caused us to pause, celebrate, grieve and reflect.
As we experience puberty, young adulthood, parenthood, the male and female menopause, bereavement, chronic illness, disability and traumatic life events, we carry on, return to ‘normal’ and suppress our pain. Our bodies change, and instead of celebrating that change and being grateful that we still have a physical container to nurture and nourish us, we berate ourselves for not being the perfect image that we’ve created in our mind.
The result is a separation of our minds from our bodies and from who we are at our core.
We don’t like ourselves, and we treat our bodies as if they’re the enemy. We accumulate self-judgements and hold beliefs such as ‘I’m not loveable’, ‘I’m broken’, ‘I’m helpless’, ‘I’m not worthy’, ‘I’m defective’, ‘I don’t belong’ and ‘I’m not safe’. We look in the mirror and hate ourselves, moving further away from accepting ourselves for who we really are.
Guernsey Mind campaigns and events co-ordinator Maddy Diligent said: ‘The launch of the All of Me campaign in collaboration with Tiffany Anna Art is a new and original idea of exploring the many aspects of body image and how we view ourselves. The campaign will focus on three main messages: “My outside is not my inside”, “My body is my home” and “Our differences are what make us the same”.
‘This is very much the beginning of what this campaign will look to address. Other events which will encompass body, mind and spirit will follow in the new year. We hope that as many people as possible will be able to pop in over the weekend.’
The campaign will officially launch tomorrow with an invited event and the art exhibition will be open to the public over the weekend.
Carey Olsen managing partner Russell Clark said: ‘Carey Olsen is delighted to be supporting Guernsey Mind’s All of Me art exhibition. Body image is a very important subject for people to learn and talk about and we hope that the art on display through the exhibition will help open up conversation around the topic locally.’
Tiffany and Guernsey Mind would like to thank TCS Guernsey and Jackal Boxfit for their support.
The All of Me art exhibition is in the old HMV building in Market Square on Saturday and Sunday, 10am-5pm. Entrance is free.