Curator’s Column: Zebra One Gallery’s Gabrielle Du Plooy

You could say I was raised in the art world, my father opened the Zebra One Gallery in 1978. He dealt in the secondary art market with paintings, sculptures and prints from some of the greatest artists of our time.

I took over the gallery from him 11 years ago and immediately I saw a gap in the photography market and went on to sell and work with some truly talented and wonderful photographers. We are now predominantly working with more contemporary artists.

Zebra One Gallery is putting on the powerful art exhibition, With Art in Mind, featuring artists who have dealt with mental health and some great artists who are no longer with us, such as Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, raising funds for the Mental Health Foundation. Mental Health is very much in the public forum right now, and rightly so. Anything the gallery can do to raise and highlight the conversation and awareness of what art can do and the role it can play is fantastic. Art therapy involves the creation of art in order to increase awareness of self and others and this has certainly been the case with the artists featured in the exhibition.

Art may promote personal development, increase coping skills, and enhance cognitive function. It is based on personality theories, human development, psychology, family systems, and art education. Art therapists are trained in both art and psychological therapy.

The Mental Health Foundation has been successfully running their own art programme for ten years, demonstrating the importance of art to understand, protect and sustain good mental health. The show features contemporary artists who have experienced mental health issues, creating exclusive pieces for the show.

These artists include: Kim Noble, “the artist with 21 personalities” whose work explores her alter egos as part of her Dissociative Identity Disorder; Charlie and Eddie Proudfoot, brothers from New York who have used their art as therapy to communicate with the outside world; mixed-media artist Gerry Laffy who used to be Duran Duran’s guitarist; George J Harding and and Nigel Stefani. My father, Lee Du Ploy, who is now a therapist, gallerist and artist, paints the patients and people he’s met over the last 30 years, who have all suffered from mental health issues.

With Art in Mind is on display at Zebra One Gallery until the end of the year.

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