Skip to main content

Beautiful Distress: Art Manifestation on Mental Illness

Project Spaces Nieuw Dakota

Ms. van Riemsdijkweg 41
1033 RC Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 3318311

Open Thu - Fri / 11-18 hrs
Sat - Sun / 12-18 hrs

Exhibition 25 Nov — 7 Jan

Opening 25 Nov, 10 hrs


Courtesy of Nieuw Dakota

Opening 25 Nov with a breakfast buffet

Art and mental illness
Most people find it difficult to talk about mental illness, both those who struggle with it and those who don’t have anything to do with it. Because a mental illness is hard to understand and taboos continue to exist. Nine out of ten people with a mental illness experience prejudice or exclusion, which impacts not only their lives and the people around them but society as a whole. How can you talk openly about mental illness? How can you muster a sense of empathy (which is so necessary)? Since art can inspire us to look at things differently, the Beautiful Distress Art Manifestation attempts to make mental illness visible and tangible through art. The Beautiful Distress Art Manifestation on Mental Illness is a collaborative effort between the Fifth Season and the Beautiful Distress Foundation and consists of an exhibition, a one-day conference and a manifesto.

The Fifth Season and Beautiful Distress
The Beautiful Distress Foundation wants to enhance the understanding of and compassion for those who deal with mental illness and has organized artist residencies in the mental health department of Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York since 2014. Beautiful Distress was inspired by a similar artist-in-residence program that the Fifth Season Foundation has organized for more than 20 years in a mental health institution in The Netherlands. In both residence programs, artists are invited to live and work on location for three months. They observe the world of psychiatry and create work that is inspired by what they see and experience. To understand the world around us – a world in which mental illness exists – we must be involved to some extent. You can try to feel the impact of mental illness when putting yourself in someone else’s position. Empathy is the initiator of making genuine contact and is the key to understanding and tolerance, which is why it has been chosen as the theme of the exhibition. In their own way, the artworks represent the connection with people who suffer from mental illness. During the exhibition period, a one-day conference covering themes like stigma and exclusion will be held at De School in Amsterdam-West. The conference will be organized on December 7 by and for representatives of all interest groups: artists, patients and their families, mental health care professionals, policy makers and the general public. The goal of the day is to exchange ‘best practices’, devise new solutions, and formulate recommendations to break taboos and cultivate a better understanding of and compassion for those suffering from mental illness. These recommendations will be presented to policymakers in government and mental health care. In this way, we want to contribute to breaking the taboos around mental illness. The Beautiful Distress Art Manifestation on Mental Illness is the first in a series of international events. Check the website for the programs and tours.

The Beautiful Distress Art Manifestation on Mental Illness is an initiative of the Fifth Season Foundation and the Beautiful Distress Foundation.


Other events

Museums/Institutes Foam

Mon - Wed / 10-18 hrs
Thu - Fri / 10-21 hrs
Sat - Sun / 10-18 hrs

Date 6 Apr - 24 Jun

Time 17:30 hrs

The Unseen, 2015 © Tereza Zelenkova

Galleries Galerie Alex Daniëls - Reflex Amsterdam

Tue - Sat / 11-18 hrs

Date 7 Apr - 22 May

Time 17 - 19 hrs

Miles Aldridge, Lucretia, 2017.

Project Spaces Cargo in Context

Thu - Fri / 12–17 hrs
Sat / 13.30-17.30 hrs
Sundays during public events

Date 6 Apr - 26 May

Opening Friday 6 Apr
17 - 19:30 hrs

Galleries Galerie Fons Welters

Tue - Sat / 13-18 hrs
+ by appointment

Date 23 Jun - 28 Jul

Opening Saturday 23 Jun
17 - 19 hrs