‘Weirds’ by Lily Cummins is art as therapy

‘Growth occurs when we discover how to remain authentically ourselves in the presence of potentially threatening things’ argues Alain de Botton in his popular book, Art as Therapy (2013).

This pre-pandemic insight is a useful lens as we farewell 2020, looking back on what was a year with health, social and political challenges that could provoke either self-reflection or distortion. Which brings us to a timely body of work from artist Lily Cummins who reflects on mental health and the role art can play as therapy. Cummins is based in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales and will be exhibiting at Curatorial+Co with furniture courtesy of Vampt Vintage in Sydney’s inner city suburb of Redfern. The pairing of art and design promises to lend an experiential, domestic feeling to her exhibition, ‘Weirds’ – on view from 9 to 17 December, 2020.

While these works and their presentation may make us think about being in our own space they were actually inspired by the artist’s time away from home, during recent sessions of art therapy in her hospital room while being treated for a mental illness. The process, creative and intellectual, is said to have been key to Cummins’ recovery. As Curatorial+Co Founder and Director, Sophie Vander remarked, these works show that ‘out of struggle can come beauty.’

Cummins said: ‘This work came about during a moment of crisis for me. A time when my depression reared its head and roared…Time began to move differently, I felt as though I was standing still and everything else was moving fast. The only way I could remain in my body was to draw and make work, it enabled me to remove it from my mind, to make it physical and to confront it. It is a privilege to be able to create and to share this work.’

Alongside ‘Weirds’, Curatorial+Co will also present their largest exhibition to date with over 50 artists offering small works in an array of mediums from sculpture to painting, mixed media, photography and ceramics in ‘Darlings’ – just in time for the holiday gifting, or self-love!