New Artwork Addresses Youth Suicide
Fatu Feu’u’s new painting highlights a crisis in youth mental health and suicide.
Currently on display in Picton the painting ‘Amuia’ is a mammoth 5.2 meters wide and 2 meters tall.
Feu’u hopes the work will draw attention to New Zealand’s high rates of youth mental illness and suicide, and will encourage parents to talk to their children about mental health.
“I’m trying to say that with our youth there is poor communication from parents” Feu’u said in an interview with The Marlborough Express. “To give them guidance in their lives. I suppose, because society as it is, and where we are at the moment, there is so much interruption between the parents and our children. We have the cellphone, we have the TV, we have the internet, and we have so many different things. And so, we are neglecting to pass on certain values.”
Feu’u is not alone in his concern, he joins a growing number of New Zealand artists raising awareness for mental health through their art. Earlier this year ARTIS Gallery’s Otis Frizzell was on of the nine artists who painted scooters for Mike Kings I Am Hope Tour. The customised ‘art scooters’ are currently travelling New Zealand with a team of mental health educators visiting schools to talk about mental health and suicide prevention.