The NI Mental Health Arts Festival commissioned Kerrie Hanna to work with participants from the Inter-Ethnic Forum in the Braid Centre, Ballymena to inform a body of stained glass work made around the theme of ‘Gather’. The significance of gathering as a group in person and creating art together using hands-on skills after two years of digital life during the pandemic felt apt when exploring themes of mental wellness and community. This project provided a gathering space for participants from Bulgaria, Poland, Vietnam, Romania and Northern Ireland. Participants explored the power of personal symbolism, each bringing a sentimental object to share with the group which provided the catalyst for discussions of identity and building a deeper sense of understanding of the multifaceted nature of culture in Northern Ireland. The stained glass works which reflect these stories will be on exhibition at the Braid Centre in Ballymena for the duration of NI Mental Health week from the 9th – 15th of May.
Biography Kerrie Hanna is a multi-disciplinary visual artist based in Vault Artist Studios. Her practice centres around storytelling, co-creation and illumination, often working with members of the community to explore personal myth making and work around identity through the medium of glass. A particular focus is given to uplifting women’s voices and the voices of minorities which would not have been represented historically in the narrative of glass painting, as a nod toward redressing the balance in an age-old medium.