How can art help someone process their experience with mental health challenges? What stories have gone unheard in our faith communities? Are there wounds and stigmas we have perpetuated or overlooked? How can the Church be a supportive and safe place for the journey of healing? What can we all learn about beauty, hope, and healing when we listen to the voices of marginalized people?
In conversations about mental health and faith, the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and other peoples of colour often go unrecognized. Yet there are real disparities in the accessibility and quality of mental health care for BIPOC individuals and communities.
Healing in Colour explores the intersection of race, faith, and mental health. Featuring Black, Indigenous, and other peoples of colour artists from around the world, the show highlights their experiences, wounds, and journeys of healing. The collection includes a variety of mediums, from linocut to dance to acrylic. Artists reflect on the role their faith plays in how they understand mental health challenges and aspects of the recovery journey, exploring themes of mental illness, stigma, recovery, companionship, and self-care. If these lived experiences are a prism through which we view the world, the beauty that exists in our humanity and relationships to God and one another is reflected through them.
Through their stories and reflections, artists raise awareness and open the door for conversations about the particular experience of living with mental health challenges for BIPOC individuals, and how their faith and culture have impacted their healing journeys. We invite you to listen to these stories and consider how they might shape you and your faith communities.
1. Is it free?
Yes! Like all of our resources, this project is completely free.
2. How do I view the artwork?
You can view the artwork in our digital magazine at the top of this page.
3. Can I visit the gallery in person?
In-person appointments were available from May 5 – June 11, 2021. The gallery is now closed, but the digital magazine exists on our website.
4. Why is Sanctuary talking about race?
Mental health challenges impact people of all races, cultures, genders, and identities. Sadly, quality mental health care is not equally accessible for all people. This reality is why Sanctuary is committed to raising awareness, reducing stigma, and starting conversations about race, faith, and mental health.
5. How are race, faith, and mental health connected?
The racial trauma that results from experiences of oppression, marginalization, and systemic racism can be incredibly damaging to the mental health of BIPOC people and communities. These experiences exist both inside and outside of Christian communities. Additionally, access to and quality of mental health resources is not equitable, with fewer and lower-quality resources available for BIPOC people and communities. We believe the Church should be a safe place for all people living with mental health challenges, and we hope to equip the Church to better serve and care for BIPOC people in their communities.
6. How does an art project address issues of race, faith, and mental health?
Art provides a unique way for people to share and hear stories, allowing us to consider different perspectives in new ways. It opens conversations, makes space for personal engagement and reflection, and invites people from different backgrounds (whether racially, culturally, economically, or otherwise) to listen, learn, and respond. The artists contributing to this collection are Christian BIPOC artists from around the world. In their artwork, they share their own stories of race, faith, and mental health.
7. Why is it called Healing in Colour?
The title Healing in Colour captures various elements of the project: race, the recovery journey, hope, beauty, and faith. The common theme across the pieces is the intersection of race, faith, and mental health. In their reflections on healing and recovery, the artists created pieces that highlight the importance of recognizing wounds, naming illnesses, expressing grief, sharing experiences, seeking and receiving companionship, resisting stigma, and much more. Healing in Colour explores a wide variety of stories on these themes from Christian artists worldwide.
8. How can I share this with my friends or church community?
Thank you for sharing the project! There are many ways you can do so. You can send them the link directly to this page (sanctuarymentalhealth.org/healing-in-colour), share about the project on social media, and encourage them to sign up for our newsletter.
9. Can I purchase any of the artwork?
Prints of the artwork were available from May – July 2021. They are no longer available for purchase.
10. I’m very moved by this project. What can I do in response?
We’re so glad that this project has made an impact! There are a number of ways you can respond. You can share the project with your friends or church community and have a conversation about it; create your own artwork in response to what you’ve seen and learned (you can share it on social media, tag Sanctuary, and use the hashtags #oursanctuarystories and #healingincolour); consider making a donation to a charity working to protect and support the wellbeing of BIPOC individuals and bring an end to racial injustice (i.e. Black Health Alliance, a charity working to improve the health and wellbeing of Black communities in Canada); engage with Sanctuary’s other resources (Recovering Hope and The Sanctuary Course are great places to start); and follow along on our social media to keep learning about mental health and faith. If you’d like to support Sanctuary’s work, you can make a donation here.
11. What place does Sanctuary have in the conversation about race?
We acknowledge that a significant percentage of our team is white, and that this limits our perspective and understanding of the issues surrounding race, faith, and mental health. Our hope is to build a more diverse team as we continue growing. It is our goal to elevate voices of BIPOC individuals, share their stories, and raise awareness about the injustices in access to and quality of mental health care services. We hope to be an advocate and ally for BIPOC people, encouraging and equipping churches to care for everyone in their communities by listening to and learning about their specific experiences and needs. If you have advice, corrections, or feedback about our resources and how they can better raise awareness and open conversations about race, faith, and mental health, please send us an email. We’d love to hear from you.
12. How can I support the artists directly? Will proceeds from prints be donated to the artists?
We’re so grateful to the artists who participated in this project. We encourage you to follow them on social media and let them know how their work impacted you. Proceeds from print purchases are split evenly between the artists and Sanctuary.
13. Where can I find more resources on the topic of race, faith, and mental health?
Please visit our page for resources on race, faith, and mental health. Here you’ll find links to Recovering Hope, a five-day devotional on the subject, as well as blog posts and other related resources. We plan to continue producing resources at the intersection of these topics, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media to be notified of new resources.