What does bipolar disorder have to do with art, body movement, psychosocial education, or, more directly, your life? We don’t often think of those suffering in silence around us, but mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder – mood swings from hyper and manic activity to depressed states of helplessness – affect more people than we realize. To raise awareness in the community, CandleX, a Beijing based NGO on mental health, created a campaign called MoodlaB, which consists of 9 components aimed at educating the public and expressing the emotional aspects of bipolar disorder through art[QX1] .
The project started in September 2016, and has since grown and expanded with more partners and volunteers participating. Initially, this project was based on a series of photoshoots by famous photographer Pere Ibañez to showcase how people suffering from Bipolar disorder feel, capturing the essence of such tormented moods. Volunteers were called in from the community, and so far there have been 7 models from different walks and cultures. Two photos have been selected to be showcased at Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA), with two more upcoming gallery exhibitions in New York, and India.
These photos are shown in Chinese media as well, eg. The Beijinger, Jingkids, etc. The photoshoot is ongoing with more community participation and the exhibitions are being arranged in and out of China.
Emotional wellbeing workshop
Since December 2016, as a component of increasing awareness on the range of human emotions, CandleX has hosted two MoodLab workshops: one at UCCA on Dececember 2016 and one at WCO in MOMA Beijing on March 2017, who sponsored the venue. The workshops were facilitated by several experienced counselors and volunteers working with CandleX. Participants in each workshop came from both from China and abroad. To guarantee the quality of the workshops, a limited number of 25 participants was applied.
Participants opened themselves up to a range of emotions through art forms, such as body movement and drawing. CandleX’s technical team lead by Melena, a certified counselor, guided the participants to become aware of how their physical bodies sensed different emotions, and to reflect that in drawings. The workshops went below the surface to identify the emotions that drive our behaviors, and introduced how emotions could range in intensity, from annoyance, to anger, to rage. The participants were also introduced to bipolar disorder and how people affected by it carry on with their lives. Quite a few of the workshop participants are continuing the project through the photoshoots.
Interested in participating in such a workshop? Then scan our QR code at the end to follow our events announcement for more information on our next workshop!
In Feb 2017, the third component of psychoeducation was conducted by our partner, My Therapist, a top national platform that focuses on providing high quality psychological services. They have shared the CandleX’s message and MoodLaB photos on their social media platform, expanding our reach. MyTherapist also contributed content through MoodLab and published articles to explore what having bipolar disorder could mean for individuals.
We have more coming up, video production, MoodlaB educational art book on bipolar disorder, one model one story, etc, all part of the MoodlaB project.
Call for participation
With this range of activities, CandleX is empowering individuals to speak up for themselves, to share experience of bipolar challenges, and to engage in self-reflection to better understand our own emotions. This can only be done through consolidating resources and building a wider platform through the support of volunteers and partners. Utmost thanks goes to the team behind CandleX and partnering institutions, organizations, companies, and sponsors, such as Bearapy and Itgetsbrighter.
Candle X is still looking for models to participate in the photoshoot. Those interested could apply by scanning this QR code:
Stay tuned also for more information on the upcoming Second Anniversary Party, to be held on the 1st of April at Modernista. Those interested in joining and supporting to celebrate the work CandleX has done in these two years – from a few people in a support group to massive public education campaigns. Register by scanning this QR code:
For more information, please contact:
Ugnė Mikalajūnaitė 于明花