“What boosts your mental health?”

Thursday 10 October, the final day of the 2019 Art Prize exhibition, was World Mental Health Day.

To highlight the crucial issue of mental health, the 2019 Art Prize showcased the power of art to create hope.

The competition challenged graduate students to tell us: what boosts your mental health? What gives you meaning, what buoys and motivates you, and what are you thankful for?

Mental health can be a particular concern for students, with research showing that university students experience high rates of stress and other mental health issues. The theme of the 2019 Art Prize was a chance for students to embrace the experiences and discoveries that support and invigorate them most – unique to each individual – and art was an outlet for them share those experiences with us.

Free mental health resources for students

First prize

‘Miraculous Ocean’

Solmaz Zamani (PhD Chemical Engineering)

Painting (acrylic)

Smell the calming scents of ocean, listen to the soothing sound of waves, let the wonderful colours find their way… Acknowledge your emotions and feelings, all those that cannot be expressed by words! Discover yourself in this journey.

Second prize

‘My mind is a magpie’

Jutta Beher, Science (PhD)

Watercolour painting

The mind is the origin of beautiful poetry and violent crime. Our emotions are constantly changing. The magpie is the perfect symbol for this when she stops warbling to take off for a viscous swooping attack. Knowing that moods will change helps during bad patches, and so does a visit in the magpie’s home, nature.

Third prize, and winner of popular vote

‘The Fool (Self Portrait)’

Ruby Komic, Arts (Master of Arts)

Acrylic on canvas

The journey towards mental health is much like the Fool’s Journey in tarot. At first, directionless and innocent. Then I begin discovering things that help: rest days, journalling…medication. But always looking for more, hoping to one day emerge from the journey with enlightenment and understanding.