In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, for this episode of the Creative Spark we’re joined by two local artists whose work has been influenced by their experiences around mental health: Yannick Lowery and Nazeer Sabree. Yannick will talk to us about his current project: The Black Paradise Project, which is helping to mitigate the mental health consequences of exposure to racism by providing opportunities for Black people to share their experiences and engage in joy. And Nazeer Sabree, whose current work places connections with the concepts and material that discuss mental health within the Black community.
Yannick Lowery is visual artist based in Philadelphia, PA. Inspired by the cultural dynamism of his native New York City and present hometown, his work explores the creations of illustrated proverbs, portents and historical souvenirs to guide the viewer through cultural introspection and responsible, imaginative perpetuation. While studying design at Columbia College and at SCAD, Lowery has defaulted to the paper collage as an interstitial tool of navigation between other artistic mediums including animation, sculpture, and public installations.
Yannick utilizes photography, found and archival paper to employ world-creation and compile instigative, investigative waymaking devices. The ease of creative accessibility with this medium has enabled Lowery to experiment with his artistic reach: from Illustrations for publications such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, as well as mailable artifacts, and large public murals. Ultimately, his collage works are allegorical tools for his true medium: the robust ecosystem of community that inspires him, becomes central imagery for his work, and participates in the concepts that inform his oeuvre.
Born on March 9th, 1998, Nazeer Sabree is a contemporary visual artist from West Philadelphia. Nazeer’s work is generally and most notably focused on depicting the dichotomy of everyday life in black culture. The themes explored in his works are individual and shared cultural experiences, identity, mental health, belonging, and African American history. Nazeer’s concepts and material are motivated by his nomadic upbringing and experiences in Philadelphia. Using textiles, photographs, magazines, shell casings, and other everyday items in a nontraditional way adds a coating of the connection to his environment. The complexity in which he depicts and discusses mental health is motivated by his lived experiences with depression and anxiety. Nazeer’s work hopes to inspire and create an outlet and vulnerable space for viewers as much as it does for himself.