Don’t Let The Load of Life Crush You

This Winter, Unsinkable is honoured to be be partnering with Twentytwenty Arts (Founded by Unsinkable ambassador Megan Kee) for Life on the Line. Life on the Line is a public art project and mental health awareness campaign using art to raise funds for mental health support. Ten Ontario-based artists will be sharing their artwork and stories on Unsinkable every week until January 2021.

This week we have the honour of sharing Dina’s story.

All ten works will be available for sale in signed and numbered limited editions of 50, where 75% of all sales will be donated directly to the Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto’s Family Outreach & Response Program. Canadian Mental Health Association is the largest service-based mental health organization in Canada.

Well into my 30s I remained an active and athletic person, until I started feeling so tired I had to spend days in bed, and no amount of rest would help. It took many years to diagnose me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Unfortunately, this absurdly trivialized name misleads people to think it is “just being tired”, while in reality it is a viral damage to the brain and central nervous system. For the past few years, this issue has been reflected in my paintings and drawings, and I believe my work may explain, if not enlighten the general public and challenge the current stereotypes of this particular form of disability. Participating in the Disrupting Undoing: Constructs of Disability Art Show at the OCAD in 2013 encouraged me to start drawing again after a few years of being bed-ridden. Even though it is challenging to find energy to draw while being up for only a few hours per day, I try to produce artwork to participate in art shows and feel like a capable and creative individual again.

Although my issue is not directly psychiatric (it is neurological), it certainly takes its toll on my mental health. Adjusting to being disabled, to the loss of every aspect of previous life – career, family, physical health, even looks – is a challenging process, more so mentally than physically. My art reflects it – introspection of my new self, looking for inner strength, or even just explaining how it feels because it is not visible on the surface.