including, but not limited to...
Su Mei is a 32 yr old Malaysian who lives in Melbourne after being a nomad for several years. She lives with bipolar I disorder and has managed to harness her surplus of energy to live a productive life. This did not come without years of struggles and engaging with traditional forms of treatment as well as creative outlets. Her hopes are for Malaysia to have a more supportive environment towards those with mental struggles and for people to have more creative platforms to truly express themselves.
She is a qualified Art Therapist and helps people to explore their creative side while having a therapeutic effect from the visual arts. After completing her Masters of Art Therapy at La Trobe University, she started “Art Tearapy” a private art therapy practice in Melbourne. Her day job involves working with people in the disability and mental health sector. She is also completing an honours in Social Practice at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University. She puts her energy into yoga, dance, art, drinking tea and bringing people together.
Mystery Publishing is a company formed of just a single sole-proprietor, Jonathan ‘Lim Chin Aun’ who manages and writes everything under the Mystery Publishing Moniker. He has also been published on Adoi, Marketing, In Real Life, Eksentrika, Calibre, Candid, Just English and Perch Magazine(s). Jonathan Lim is at the moment an advocate for GOeureka, a travel application, which utilizes block chain technology to enhance the travel booking experience for better mileage and ease of usage. It is with this sponsor by which he is able to continue writing.
He currently resides in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia and is approaching his 38th birthday in December 2019. Jonathan has been suffering from Bipolar Disorder and has been doing so for the last twenty years. Very little is known of his ambitions or aspirations but there is a story he is particularly keen on telling, and will be able to share part of its telling in, "To Outrun The Grey Cloud," arts E-Zine Collection, which will be available for sale on PDF through Drive-Thru Comics. Jonathan works, lives and thrives for/on Coffee and Branded Tobacco.
Girish Kumar Nambiar
Girish Kumar Nambiar is a freelance copywriter and entrepreneur who resides in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is 31 years of age and graduated with a law degree from Aberystwyth, Wales roughly 5 years ago. He is presently working to start-up a 3D printing service provider enterprise in addition to the copy-writing work that he does. He is also working on a Comic Book called Mud City as well as two other paperback books, one of which is a novel while the other is more of a personal piece or self-help guide to people suffering from mental health issues. The latter is called A Mind of Our Own and is very much still a work in progress.
He was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder roughly 10 years ago and has had his ups and downs in life just like any other person would. He believes that there are systemic problems in society that need to be remedied, particularly in the Asian region and thus is happy to work with MYKOLEKTIF to reach more individuals and shed more light on Bipolar Disorder and other mental issues so attached such as ADHD and OCD. It is his hope that someday mental health disorders will be done away with completely and all people on earth will be able to live their lives free of mental health stigmas and disabilities.
“It’s hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness.” - ‘Diary’ by Chuck Palahniuk
Art gives 33-year old Officer Pipsqueak a reason to express both malaise and joy in mostly tangible forms as a keepsake of life’s experiences as well as provides an outlet for healthy self-expression from any psychological turmoils.
She is a Private Investigation diploma graduate who later earned a UK-certified TESOL Diploma and Teaching Observation Certificate, so she now guides English learners in enhancing their receptive and productive language skills for more fluent communication.
Her educational undertakings were aided by professional help to holistically manage the onset of Schizophrenia in 2007, which she suspects is associated with the pituitary tumour she has also been diagnosed with. She had also suffered from depression before but this dark part of her life has found sufficient healing to no longer require antidepressants anymore, so she mainly struggles with the negative aspects of Schizophrenia, otherwise known as “dreaming awake”, and the pituitary tumour, currently.
She hopes the disclosure of mental health issues will no longer be normalised and stigmatised anywhere in the world in the near future through education, peer support, art therapy and through other creative outlets, which she reckons movements like MyKolektif can inspire in others to kick off in their own communities.
She fills up her free time writing poetry and conceiving ideas to invent gears like EMF-safe waterproof night vision motorcycle helmets that project rear/side mirrors onto the visors. At the moment, she is attempting to conceptualise art associated with mental health and universal themes on canvas medium and audio format through making ringtones/alarm tones for public consumption of all ages.
Liya Red is the author of ‘Trust Overboard’, a non-fiction, Amazon UK Bestseller, of her personal experience through domestic violence. As a human rights advocate, she is supported by activists of Women’s Aid Organisation, HELP University, The United Nations, and more. Before holding her Honours in Psychology, she experienced depression and anxiety, which were relieved through expressive art.
Liya was modelling as a full-time student. She has also acted in indie films, and directed her own short film on child abuse awareness, as well. She was an Elite Consumer Engager, Private Chief Usherette, Executive Assistant to a CEO, and a Personal Assistant to a Managing Director. Furthermore, Red experienced life in the F&B industry, ranging from Front of House Fine Dining Hostess to running her own private catering.
For the most part, she grew up in Houston, Texas, where most of her passion was spent in the arts. Judges from across the United States honoured her with two gold medals for the highest rating of one, in Solo A Capella of Texas District. She has also performed for Houston Astros’ home game and exclusive church events in an Ensemble A Cappella.
Today, Liya is a personal life coach who offers intuitive and compassionate coaching. She challenges her clients to a better life path through her carefully crafted programme. As of 2019, Liya Red is regarded by the British Publishing House, as one of the Successful People in Malaysia. For more information, please visit www.LiyaRed.com
Anonya is a 40-year old Renaissance woman in the making. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, she is based out of her mother’s home in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia while she gets back on her feet. She holds a medical degree from Ireland’s top university, sings, dances and acts professionally, as well as writes songs, poetry and articles. She is contributing a few pieces of her art to this exhibition.
She has many, many aspirations and dreams for her life, including getting married and having a child, founding an NGO, recording an album and earning a PhD. Psychiatric medication has saved her life and gotten it back on track, restoring her confidence that should an episode reoccur, she is strong enough to get through it without getting re-warded.
She has survived mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and countless episodes of betrayal, bullying and social exclusion in familial, social and workplace contexts.
Her schizophrenic episodes, though mysterious and disruptive, have not been without their gifts. Each episode casts her like Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon, revealing metaphysical and sometimes even prophetic secrets to her.
She is positive about the destigmatization of mental health issues in Malaysian society and just the world in general, and believes that although acceptance in the mainstream is slow, eventually it will get there. She cites the example of having depression – it is largely viewed differently today than twenty years ago. She hopes the same will happen to schizophrenia in the years to come.
There are many places I consider home as, the places I’ve left a thumbprint at—home is where the heart is. I was born in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and am currently residing in Melbourne, Australia.
Growing up I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety. I was given a formal diagnosis for severe depression and anxiety whilst studying in the UK on 2015. I was prescribed anti-depressants for a year and decided that I’d like to challenge to be a better version of myself without medication when I can, while I can.
I believe that mental health should be seen as an indication of one’s personal state but not the definition of one’s existence. I aspire to live truthfully, to the fullest; maximizing on good intentions whilst learn to turn unpleasant experiences into a form of endurance.
I’ve started my journey from a design path and am currently studying Psychology. I turn to illustrations and writing as a form of ‘release’. Expressing myself through art has always been a cathartic form of thought decluttering. In saying that,
I hope those who wish to, can find their own ways and means to set themselves free by building a sense of stability and independence from introspection. To sum it up in Su Mei’s words “Don’t wait for others to buy you flowers. Buy them for yourself!”.
Gwenda is a marketing professional who has spent the past 15 years in Melbourne. Originally from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, she strives to find ways to maintain a peaceful equilibrium between her love for Melbourne and staying connected to her Borneon roots.
Besides illustrating and making art, she tries hard to find time for music making, hunting for food trucks, sending her loved ones daily doses of memes and forever trying to hone discernment without giving into 'shiny object' syndrome.
She is currently dabbling with an IG account called @borneo.babble to keep the interest towards indigenous Borneon languages alive. She hopes that seeing a therapist and conversations about mental health will become as ubiquitous as getting a back massage.
At 26, Hannah’s personal memoirs could be considered scandalous and tragic for a girl her age. Rejecting the sociopolitical norms of her childhood, she has turned to creating in all forms to channel her 5 year diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Whether through prose, advocacy or art - the creation process calms the rapid mood swings and constant chatter in her head.
I have ADD, Synesthesia, and OCD.
I have never identified as an artist or artistic. If I do refer to myself as an artist I use the word artist in an extremely limited sense. After all, I do create things and I sometimes need to transform emotion and feeling into other things.
Those other things have no fixed shape. Music, canvas, paper, metal, words; they are all the same to me. As such it’s been a struggle for me to DO anything further with the things I create, and carve out a niche for myself with a specific style, or material. Many things I have made, I have thrown away, given away, or donated to other projects. The final product has no value to me as an object of art. The catharsis and release I find in the process of making and transforming one thing into another thing is the critical part. I have been torn between wanting to share my creations but was unable to find the right venue. Standard art venues and everything that comes with them some how do not feel right. The context is skewed too much by the formalities of art.
I am not a real artist who creates for the love of the creative process. When I am not struggling with emotions, or experiencing some inner dis-ease I have no desire to create anything. When I feel balanced I can focus on doing other things. Is there a word for someone who processes their feelings by creating things? Or IS artist THAT word? I would like a new word to describe this, but I don’t know what that word is yet.
Presenting my “stuff” in the context of mental health feels less awkward to me than presenting them as pieces of art. As things that are symbolic of pain, struggle, and dis-ease, the stuff I make, suddenly has meaning and a purpose that feels appropriate and comfortable. I’m really happy to finally be able to share the things I’ve made in the right place for the right reasons and hopefully mykollektifs work will broaden the conversation about mental health as well as create awareness about art as a therapeutic medium. I’m currently working on hand printing a book of Haiku, some of which are featured here. You can find the rest of them on IG @soraya29_
I was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1969 and
had my early education at the Federation School
for the Deaf in Penang. I graduated with a
bachelor degree in Interior Architecture and a
master degree in Visual Arts. After working for
more than 25 years in interior architecture and
design industry, I used to work as an art director at
Malaysia Design Innovation Centre in Cyberjaya. Since 2011, I decided to work as a full-time artist and then a new visual arts and design centre was formed that is called ARTDeaf to provide the professional service for clients' needs.
I had the opportunities to participate in many competitions and won many awards. My
participation are involved in various exhibitions in local and abroad including Belgium, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore. I won a gold medal (first prize) in silk painting when I represented Malaysia in the 8th International Abilympic (Olympic of Ability) Competition
held in Korea, 2011. In 2013, two of my paintings were chosen to be exhibited in the Arts Kuala Lumpur exhibition in Miami in conjunction with the Art Basel Miami, Florida and five of my paintings were also chosen for Arts Kuala Lumpur exhibition 2014 in Melbourne, Australia which was organised and supported by National Visual Art Gallery and MATRADE. Currently
one of my painting is displayed in National Visual Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur for Open Show event.
Challenge as Deaf life
As artist, I face much uncertainty in terms of getting paid assignments/income. It is difficult for me to go into this line art business because the public awareness on the creation of artwork by Deaf is very small to equal with non-Deaf artist, and also I do not have much experience
in art industry. Getting funding, mentors and training are another major obstacles. My difficulty in communication due to my deafness. There are some situations in which I can’ t cope well – such as networking sessions, big group discussions, interviews, and phone calls. Note-takers and interpreters are not always available or affordable. This communication barrier has impacted my ability to market myself effectively in person. It has also made me
shy and withdrawn.
Artist/painter who resides in Ampang. He is 33 and has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design from Curtin University, Western Australia and has since been making art full time.
He was diagnosed with Autism when he was 19 years old. As he had problems socializing with others, he was often side-lined and misunderstood by his peers. Instead of submitting to his condition, Yuli made the best of what he had and discovered the beauty of life and his surroundings. He finds nature particularly beautiful, and are one of his most frequented sources of inspiration. I believe the education system in Asia should be more holistic rather than just focusing on academics as creativity, arts and humanities are of equal importance. I am in the midst of coming up with my next art exhibition, taking my art up a notch to new directions. I have taken in a few art exhibits around the klang valley. I also am a huge fan of comics, movies, custom/street/underground/culture, artisanry, zen samurai, bonsai, and nature.
A 24-year-old kampung kid hailing from a sleepy coastal town, Farid is a full-time freelance character designer and illustrator. He also has a degree in English for Professional Communication.
Partly from passion, partly from struggling with ableist corporate culture hiring practices, Farid made the best of the accessibility of information in the Internet Age to pursue a career in art despite the lack of formal education in illustration. Growing up struggling with rejection from many aspects of himself, he uses the medium of digital art to share his experiences, as well as involving himself in communities to mutually aid fellow marginalised individuals.
Farid also dabbles in disability activism via comics or linguistic analysis, but nowadays mainly focuses on his niche in comics, character design and tabletop RPG illustrations.