Dear PrEUdence: 12 Alumni of ATU Galway selected for art exhibition at European Parliament in Brussels for World Mental Health Day

‘Dear PrEUdence: A Positive Headspace in the EU’ is a new art exhibition that will be held at the European Parliament in Brussels 10-13 October. The official exhibition launch will take place on Tuesday, October 10th to coincide with World Mental Health Day. 12 artists, all graduates of Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Galway have been selected to display their work. The project is developed and funded by Maria Walsh MEP, Atlantic Technological University, Galway School of Design & Creative Arts, European Parliament in Brussels and the Galway Culture Company which is supported by the Government of Ireland under the National Development Plan through the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

The selected artists are Conor Burke, Kathleen Donoghue, Eileen Fair, Maura Finnegan, Katie Moore, Theresa Mulholland, Brigid Mulligan, Gerri O’Brien, Karena Ryan, Naoise Sheridan, Sona Smedkova and Tala Zeitawi. The exhibition will include digital animations, paintings, installations, textiles, sculptures, prints and a film. The Open call and final selection of artists for exhibition is curated by Louise Manifold, Baise Drummond and Seamus McGuinness.

MEP Maria Walsh said, “It is an honour to be working with ATU Galway and the Galway Culture Company – with the support of the European Parliament – to host the Dear PrEUdence exhibition. I am thrilled to be facilitating this exhibition in the Parliament in Brussels. Providing graduates from the School of Design and Creative Arts at ATU Galway an opportunity to showcase their work and contribute to the much needed conversation surrounding mental health, their voice is integral. This is a really important exhibition, locally, nationally and at European level. As well as showcasing the magnificent work of Galway graduates, the exhibition will be strategically displayed within the public space at the European Parliament, where policymakers, lawmakers, and the general public can engage with the artwork and participate in meaningful discussions about mental health. Our hope is that this will help foster dialogue, understanding, and awareness of mental health issues.”

Dr. Patrick Tobin, Head of School of Design & Creative Arts, Atlantic Technological University, said, “We are excited to showcase the creativity of our graduates at the heart of the EU Parliament. Through their inspiring work, they remind us that art and design are not only avenues for self-expression but powerful ways to promote positive mental health and foster a brighter future for all.  We are delighted to partner with Maria Walsh and her office and the Galway Culture Company on this exhibition.”

World Mental Health Day is a globally recognized day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health and advocating for better mental health care. The exhibition aims to foster fresh dialogue and understanding of mental health issues, while advocating for mental health as a civil right, to explore the transformative power of positive mental health, community and kindness, and the opportunity to open up and experience life to its fullest.

MEP Maria Walsh said, “Without mental health support we can’t have a solid health base. Mental health doesn’t see borders, or a person’s skin colour, or orientation or gender. It doesn’t see where one community starts and ends. It’s our citizens that are at risk if we don’t get this right. Mental health is everyone’s business. Policy makers, myself included, need to understand the urgency of the mental health crisis we are living in. Sadly, at least 2,350 people have died by suicide in the last five years in Ireland, and for every one death by suicide, an average of 135 people are impacted. That is over 280,000 Irish people impacted by our country’s mental health.”

At a time when the world is navigating various challenges, organisers wanted to create a space that celebrates the power of the human spirit and the strength found within supportive communities. The theme also echoes the sentiments expressed by the Beatles in their classic song ‘Dear Prudence’ where the lyrics are simple and innocent, praising the beauty of nature, encouraging the song’s subject to ‘come out and play’.  Prudence, who was isolating herself during a meditation course, is gently invited to open up and experience the world. Similarly, in the context of mental health, a supportive community and environment that encourages individuals to seek help, share their struggles, and engage with others can be beneficial.

For more information on this project, visit the Dear PrEUdence project page.

Read more about the selected artists here.