A GROUP of talented youngsters from North Ayrshire feature in an innovative art exhibition exploring mental health issues.

The exhibit, titled Beings, launched at the Racquet Hall, Eglinton Country Park on Friday, July 27 and showcases a diverse range of work with a focus on young people’s wellbeing.

Young people from the Rosemount Project were among 13 groups of young people from drop-in youth clubs, schools, kinship care groups and employment projects involved. They used works from the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) collection, using them as springboards for creating their own work, and their own exhibition.

They worked closely with NGS staff to design the presentation of their own work, which allows audiences to find their own meaning in the works and respond in whatever way they choose. The exhibition layout of BEINGS takes the form of a mind map, with new works made by participants shown alongside reproductions of the works in the NGS collection that inspired them.

The project promotes resilience by demonstrating how young people can become more self-aware and confident through being creative.

The exhibition features the surreal ‘Wedding Ceremony’ photographic display, created by young people from the local area, alongside abstract paintings, ‘automatic’ drawings, clay sculptures and videos exploring different ways into young people’s minds.

Beings explores the many ways in which creativity can help us to unravel, understand and express our emotions, sparking conversations about identity, emotional health, happiness, resilience and self-worth.

The exhibition is open from 26 July – 26 August (10-4pm) and features automatic drawings and exquisite corpses, performance art videos and shadow projections of etchings on Perspex.

The exhibition is supported by North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership and North Ayrshire Alcohol & Drug Partnership, who are proud to promote the results of a project addressing an important issue facing young Scots.

Robin Baillie, Senior Outreach Officer at the National Galleries of Scotland said: “Beings forms part of a wider outreach program run by the National Galleries of Scotland, which aims to provide disadvantaged young people across Scotland with opportunities to develop their skills and their creativity, so they can represent their own point of view, inspired by the national art collection.

“We were sensitive about approaching this issue of young people’s wellbeing and mental health, as it wasn’t our place to be proscriptive or give easy answers. We wanted the participants to follow their own reactions and find creative ways to investigate the emotional issues that affect them. The art that the young people have created for this exhibition is brave and bold, and totally unique.”

Cllr R obert Foster, Cabinet Member for the Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “This was an amazing opportunity for our young people to get involved in. It got them thinking and talking about their wellbeing and then they were able to express these emotions by being creative through their art.

“We’re very proud of everyone involved in the project and am sure the public will enjoy what is a fantastic exhibition with lots of interesting pieces.”

Clara Glovier, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We are delighted that the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery has enabled the National Galleries of Scotland’s Beings project to take place. To be involved in a creative project which uses art to help you people to understand and express their emotions is very special.”