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Artist explores mental health struggles in stunning mural at London's Saatchi Gallery

The artist behind the 'Best For You' mural at the Saatchi gallery hopes to raise awareness for mental health issues
The artist behind the 'Best For You' mural at the Saatchi gallery hopes to raise awareness for mental health issues   -   Copyright  Saatchi Gallery   -  
By Theo Farrant

A mural titled 'Best For You', created by Spanish artist Carlos Peñalver at London's Saatchi Gallery, aims to interpret the experience of living with mental health issues.

The project came from a conversation the artist had over video call with a man called Aaron, who suffered with mental health issues between the ages of 17 to 20.

After listening to Aaron's story, Peñalver wanted to created a timeline of Aaron's difficult 3-year journey and highlight all the things in his life he feels he missed during his mental health struggle.

'Journeys: The Healing Arts'

Saatchi Gallery
The exhibition is free to enter at the Saatchi GallerySaatchi Gallery

The mural is part of an exhibition titled, 'Journeys: The Healing Arts', which is a collaboration between the Saatchi Gallery and CW+, the charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation trust.

The exhibition features work from over 20 artists, including musician Brian Eno, and explores the different communities and stories that make up Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

This is the first time the CW+ has exhibited artworks from its collection on this scale to the wider public within a gallery setting.

Art and mental health

Saatchi Gallery
The artist of the mural, Carlos Peñalver, said he left his job in order to complete this muralSaatchi Gallery

Peñalver completed the mural, live, in the Saatchi Gallery and it took him two weeks to finish in total.

While completing the mural, he allowed visitors to see his creative process and also participate in the process.

The mural was named after the Best For You organisation, a new mental health NHS programme founded by CW+ among others, which aims to provide comprehensive and long-term mental health care to children and adolescents.

Carlos says that he met lots of people during his two weeks at the gallery and found that many people, encouraged by the mural, opened up about their own mental health.

"Art can be a powerful channel to give visibility to mental health," said Peñalver.

The 'Journeys: The Healing Arts' exhibition closes on 13 January 2022.

Check out the video above to take a close look at the mural

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Video editor • Theo Farrant