My name is Catarina Araújo and I am a Portuguese visual artist based in Cork city. I decided to move to Ireland in 2017 to look for different opportunities and to find a way of becoming independent. Cork show to me that I was in the right place, perhaps I had found a second home.
In 2020 I completed my MA in Art and Process at MTU Crawford College of Art and Design, where I started to explore and research mental health distress and behavioural patterns by focusing on the connection between the body, mind and past experiences my art practice started to develop through different mediums such as film, sculpture and printmaking.
As an artist, I want to expand the field between art and mental health, where artistic approaches are a central tool to explore new methods of addressing mental health distress.
In 2021 I designed a project called ‘Taking a Breather’ that looked to understand what are the impacts of Covid-19 on mental health workers and students, how it affected their personal and professional lives. After meeting with them and analysing all the gathering data a creative workshop was designed and facilitated, considering different perspectives and perceptions, where we collaboratively explore their experiences during Covid-19. The workshop included imagination activation exercises, where we all were invited to imagine different futures. By talking openly about the struggles of living and working on the frontline during a pandemic, the group started to create a sense of community, where it is safe to address these overlooked issues. Inspired by the group conversations and ideas, I want to create a sculptural and immersive art installation in collaboration with the participants.
Taking a BreatheR
‘Quântica [Quantum]’1 explores personal trauma, repressed memories, and behavioural patterns. The work develops an introspective connection between the body and past experiences that are accumulated beyond the mind and incorporated into bodily sensations, reactions and perceptions of things. According to Stephen Ornes (2017)2, ‘the word quantum refers to the smallest amount of something that you can have. You can’t break a quantum of something into smaller parts. A quantum is the most basic building block.’ This concept allowed me to explore and understand how past experiences can have a massive impact on the way we behave in the present moment.
‘Quântica [Quantum]’ is an art installation composed of film, sculpture and printmaking. The project presents fragments of a performative body in a frantic and intimate way, looking to extrapolate what is hidden within and what has been lost to oblivion. The obsessive repetition of the triangular form is drawn by an intrinsic desire to uncover new structures and achieve equilibrium within them.