Extensions: Art Exhibition in aid of mental health

Emer Handly

Credit: Emer Handly

Fintan O’Byrne is an Irish artist who recently hosted an exhibition of his artwork in aid of Jigsaw, Ireland’s National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

Jigsaw’s mission is to bring about significant change in how Ireland thinks about, responds and supports young people’s mental health. Fintan admires this vision and decided to donate 30 percent of all sales from his art exhibition to Jigsaw.

O’Byrne believes that art plays “a huge role in Irish culture and in raising awareness for mental health.” Art has helped him find a sense of identity and a sense of exploring his place in the world, therefore he is honoured to bring art into the dialogue of mental health.

The artwork in the exhibition, Extensions, have a very modern and unusual yet quirky look.

“These paintings and prints represent an attempt to take in the world around me, be that from my immediate physical environment, personal life or from internet and mass media. I am constantly curating ideas as they arise, looking for ones that have the potential to surprise me, ones that have a sense of the unfamiliar but which I feel speak to my own experience of the world and to our current cultural moment. I like to commit to those types of ideas and get them back out into the world as artworks.”

At the event there was a special guest speaker; Brent Pope. Pope is a rugby analyst on RTÉ who is also an art enthusiast and a mental health ambassador. He has had his own battles with anxiety and depression and was honoured to be asked to speak at the event.

“What Fintan has done here is remarkable. It comes from the heart and to actually see it up is such an achievement. He is not doing it for financial gain. He is doing it out of pleasure and donating proceeds to charity. That is what art should be.”

“In this day and age youth mental health awareness is more important than ever.”

Other artists at the event praised Fintan’s work. “The colour scheme and palette is so interesting,” said Annabel Potterton.

She also remarked that donating proceeds to Jigsaw was wonderful. “Art gives you a sense of purpose especially when you are going through a dark time.”

The successful and praiseworthy Extensions exhibition was held in The Copper House Gallery and was sponsored by Arekeibo. Jigsaw are very grateful for Fintan’s kind donation and help in raising awareness for young people’s mental health.

Emer Handly