Twisted Rose artwork image

Dragon costumes, roses, paramedics and rock stars with guitars are all depicted as part of a new exhibition that seeks to help people understand post-traumatic stress and explore the process of recovery.

Opening at the Institute of Mental Health on Wednesday 10th October, “The Twisted Rose and other lives” exhibition will showcase a new series of artworks from artist Andy Farr. Each painting is based on a personal account of the impact of trauma on someone’s life. The paintings show how people can grow during their recovery, as well as helping others to understand the feelings that trauma can create.

The exhibition opens at the Institute of Mental Health on Wednesday 10th October 2018 and will open on weekdays only until 1st March 2019.


The exhibiting artist, Andy Farr, says about the new exhibition:

“My hope is that the exhibition of moving and thought-provoking depictions of what it is like to suffer and recover from mental health problems will raise awareness and consciousness of the issues surrounding trauma. The imagery provides new insights into a wide range of people’s experiences from birth trauma to war trauma, as well providing potentially positive therapeutic outcomes for those directly involved.”

Twisted Rose WEB ”Twisted Rose”

The title piece of the exhibition “Twisted Rose” was inspired by “Mac’s” story. He suffered childhood abuse, and after therapy described himself as feeling like “A twisted rose, growing out of the dark into the light, but still carrying the scars of his past”. This description inspired Andy Farr to paint a detailed painting of the plant, triumphantly growing out of darkness and flowering in the light.

The exhibition launch will coincide with World Mental Health Day, an international day that provides an opportunity to talk about the need for good mental health care for people worldwide.

The Institute of Mental Health’s Director, Professor Martin Orrell has led the institute’s commitment to promoting art and creativity to support mental health recovery:

“World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to talk to as many different people as possible about mental health – whether it’s through promoting the findings of new research, supporting recovery through art and creativity or just taking the time to talk with friends and loved ones. Our latest exhibition demonstrates yet another way that art has provided people with therapeutic recovery, and how powerful imagery and creativity can help start a conversation about our mental health.

“The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is young people and mental health in a changing world. I’m immensely proud of the research that teams across the institute are doing to contribute to the newly announced UK Research and Innovation networks for young people’s mental health research studies. These contributions recognise the excellent work being done by our centres of excellence, as well as the NIHR MindTech MedTech mental health co-operative which is hosted by the Institute.

“The arts have been an inseparable part of the Institute of Mental Health since it opened in 2006, reflecting the values of creativity, emotional connections and providing opportunities for inspiration. Using art and creativity can support mental health recovery, and I am very proud of our ongoing commitment to bringing new artists to exhibit within our building, and setting up new creative networks, like our recent creative writing workshops, to work with the wider community.”

The “Twisted Rose and other lives” exhibition will be open to the public from Wednesday 10th October, 10am – 4pm, Monday to Friday at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham Innovation Park, Triumph Road, NG7 2TU.



Andy Farr is an award-winning artist with a particular interest in mental health. His most recent series of paintings were based on exploring the effect of his father’s bipolar disorder on his childhood. A process, he says, that enabled him to come to terms with his own trauma and move forward.

You can find out more about the exhibition via Andy Farr’s website 

The project is supported by Arts Council England and the Institute of Mental Health’s Arts and Trauma MIN.