By Cassandra Glover An Armadale artist, known to everyone as Gracey, has created an art exhibition in order to raise the awareness of depression in the community. The exhibition, Art vs Depression (AvD), was inspired by Gracey’s own struggle with depression and how he was able to overcome this struggle by drawing from his Maori heritage to create organic artworks. “Slowly over 9 months I was able to paint my way out of a dark shadowy place. It actually just created a pathway that I could follow and come out of the shadows,” said Gracey. Gracey was then inspired to share his story with the community to show how art can be an effective outlet for those suffering with mental illness. “I walked out of the studio on the 26th of February with this concept or project in mind, and entered our community of Armadale, and Art vs Depression was born.” Gracey approached people at random in Armadale with some crayons and blank paper and asked them to draw a picture of how mental illness has affected their lives, whether it be through a friend or family member, or through their own struggles. He then used these artworks, alongside his own creations and those of other artists, in the Art vs Depression exhibition. “AvD’s mission, like my personal mission, is to give art back to the people at a ground level,” said Gracey. “We love the concept of using art as a means to tell one’s story. The Art vs Depression project brings awareness to mental health and also provides an outlet for people to share in their experiences without having to be concerned about the stigma associated with mental illness,” said Kerin Jones from mental health support group headspace Armadale. The Art vs Depression exhibition is on display at the Armadale Library until the 30th of May, and is free for the public to enjoy. Donations are welcome and all proceeds go to headspace Armadale.