Vancouver artist’s new installation spotlights mental illness within the black community


“I’ve always referred to myself as crazy,” begins an essay by young black woman. The essay, called “The Process,” is shared on local artist Nanyamka Lewis’ website for her project “The Feels,” which people can experience as a mixed media installation this February in Vancouver.

“The Feels” puts a spotlight on mental illness in the black community, and the installation will run for the duration of February, which is Black History Month, at The Cheeky Proletariat gallery space in Gastown.

The Feels
Photo via

Typically, while Black History Month aims to honour tenets and traits such as strength and perseverance, the time seems ideal to Lewis for sparking conversation–and action–about the black community’s contemporary struggle with “racial, economic and educational disparities regarding mental health.”

Lewis considers “The Feels” a safe haven and open forum for black youth for voicing, processing, and exploring the subject of mental health.

the feels
Photo via

Visitors to the installation will view mixed media art and poetry created by Lewis, and set in a white space the artist says “represents the context within which social anxieties caused by racial injustice and cultural ignorance often arise.”

The Feels

When: February 1-28, 2018 (Opening at 7 pm on February 1)

Where: Cheeky Proletariat Storefront Gallery – 320 Carrall Street