Insight and ingenuity explored with compelling contemporary artist

A Co Derry artist has given clients at Action Mental Health a sneak preview of a new solo exhibition which coincides with World Mental Health Day events being held throughout the charity.

Brian Kielt, who has captured life, often through a refracted lens and rich in metaphor, lore and legend, brings his collection, ‘Bardo: An Unknown Country’ to the Ards Arts Centre in October.

The one-man exhibition will premiere at the Centre’s Georgian Gallery from October 3 to 26, with proceeds from the exhibition going to Action Mental Health’s New Horizons North Down and Ards.

Keilt’s theme of Bardo comes from the same Tibetan word which translates as ‘between two’, reflecting Buddhism’s belief in the journey the soul takes between death and the ultimate goal – rebirth and peace.

The theme, in many ways, charts Kielt’s own personal ‘struggle with mental health issues for the best part of 15 years’, with art, he contends, representing a focus by which he strives toward personal peace and aims to ‘make sense of the world’.

The event follows a lifelong dream to be an artist and combines his flair and skill for contemporary expressionism, with the subject matter of his life since childhood.

It translates prosaic settings of his family history, which he turns on its head to create evocative multi-scene images, warranting audiences’ considered inspection, right through to unique interpretations of Greek mythology.

By literally turning images of portraiture, by degrees, such transposition creates dramatic and poignant images which have the viewer guessing its enigmatic subject matter.

Talented and budding artists who attend AMH New Horizons North Down and Ards, got the chance to view some of Kielt’s work, quizzing him on his inspiration, work and subject matter, with many of them now looking forward to attending next month’s event. Clients even got to take part in a workshop led by Kielt, producing innovative, unique and impressive works of their own.

Those who participated undertake AMH New Horizons’ ‘Working it Out” project which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020, the Department for the Economy and the five NI Health & Social Care Trusts.

Kielt’s work for the exhibition was sponsored by an iDA grant awarded by the University of Atypical (formerly the Arts and Disability Forum) supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

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