BLACK DOG DAYS

6 LEGS. 2 WEEKS. 14 WALKS
Sarah & Winnie Read
6 – 19 October 2014

Installation view at The See Here, Wellington

Installation view at The See Here, Wellington

Installation view

Installation view

Using an object as a connector… From the project An Idea by Renee Bevan and Jhana Millers

Distraction wrist-piece #1, fibre, metal, plastic


Take a walk outside – it will serve you far more than
pacing around in your mind
Rasheed Ogunlaru

A dog is a bond between strangers
John Steinbeck

6-10 October is NZ Mental Health Awareness week, and Friday 10th is World Mental Health day.  Each year, one in four of us will experience a mental health challenge, yet stigma surrounding mental illness is still a major barrier that prevents people from seeking the mental health treatment that they need.

Coincidentally, my slot at The See Here this year also occurs during one of my own depressive episodes. Bad timing; when these bouts hit I crave concealment, not exhibition. Usually I isolate myself, paring life to the bare minimum: work, bed, work, bed.

But for these two weeks, in the spirit of solidarity and raising awareness, and an attempt to move things on for myself, I am trying to live it a little differently. Inspired by the instruction Using an object as a connector, connect yourself to another. Stay that way (from the Jhana Millers and Renee Bevan ongoing series an idea), Black Dog Days is a low-tech, low stress experiment in telling it like it is and getting out there anyway. By acknowledging and being authentic to my situation I hope I might begin to improve it.

My modest goal is to walk my dog each day for the 14 days of my show. It’s possible that I’ll also document some aspect of the walk, or the day, but really it’s about just fronting up and doing the walk.

As for outcomes:

  • the mood-elevating effects of walking, and of being outside in the sunny part of the day are long proven. The boost of regular, positive, undemanding exchanges with dog-besotted strangers can’t hurt either.
  • And already my response to Using an object as a connector.. has forced me into engagement with other artists, curators, printers and sign-makers in a way that felt impossible only days ago.

Baby steps, eh.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter how bad it gets, if you take the right steps, talk to the right people, black dog days can and will pass
I had a black dog, his name was depression – World Health Organisation

The image for an idea was kindly supplied by Zoe Brand. For more on:

To view the World Health Organisation’s video I had a back dog, his name was depression, click on the image below.

black dog

Click image to view video