24 Months


Medicine Boxes, Steel, MDF

What are the long term effects of the pharmaceuticals we so readily accept? What are we putting into our bodies and how much of this is helping us?

Photograph: Sarah James
Photograph: Glen Jamieson

Published by The Life of Sarah James

Sarah James is a Norwich based artist whose current practice encompasses the theme of mental health and the use of psychiatric medicine in the treatment of mental health conditions. Mental health is still a taboo subject, despite becoming more of a contemporary issue as it has emerged over recent years in the media. Primarily using techniques from printmaking, textiles and sculpture, her work hinges on her own experience of having a mental health condition and the volume of the medication that she has taken over the years. Using this in her artwork has been a form of therapy for her, allowing her to work through and deal with difficult memories creatively. Sarah has a diagnosis bipolar affective disorder - Having been treated for depression and psychosis in the past, It took a long time to access mental health services to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment for her condition. During this time, her mental health deteriorated, and she had been hospitalized several times. Graduating with an MA in Fine Art at Norwich University of the Arts and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at University of Suffolk, Sarah firmly believes that creating art has helped her during her recovery journey and is a form of self-therapy for her. Sarah’s artwork is informed by the scale of the pharmaceutical industry and the way in which medication seems to be handed out freely to patients without addressing underlying issues or offering other forms of treatment or therapy. She is interested in the way in which we readily accept over the counter or prescription drugs, how dependent our society is on pharmaceuticals and how casually we use them. Sarah’s practice is a statement of how difficult it is currently to access long-term holistic treatment for people with mental health problems. In the future she would like to see more funding available to make “Arts on prescription” groups available through the NHS, enabling community Arts workshops for mental health service users.

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