Welwyn Garden City artist distraught after museum censors mental health-themed canvas

PUBLISHED: 14:58 19 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:32 19 October 2017

Bethany's original canvas.

Bethany's original canvas.


A Welwyn Garden City artist who suffers with mental health issues has hammered Mill Green Museum after it deemed her work unsuitable for its exhibition.

Bethany Eafdale was one of several Oaklands College students set to have their art work unveiled at the museum this evening, but she was left devastated after learning her main piece (pictured) would not be included.

The 20-year-old said she then submitted several other pieces, which had been accepted, but suffered another blow after being informed last night that some pieces had been removed.

Bethany said the main canvas directly reflects her mental health and demonstrates the best and worst aspects of her life.

“I wanted this piece [to be shown] so people can talk about it,” Bethany told the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

“There may be a boy or girl that goes and thinks ‘I feel like that’ and they go and talk to their parents and don’t grow up the way I have, because mental health is such a stigmatised subject.”

Bethany said the museum’s decision had left her feeling “hopeless”, adding it was not the first time she has encountered this problem when trying to display her work.

“[It makes me feel] awful and want to quit,” she added. “It makes me want to not bother making work, I just feel there is nothing I can do that will get displayed.

“I can’t make my name as an artist because of these places turning around and saying no.

“My art is a lot to do with my self-expression, it’s how I cope a lot of the time with whatever is going through my head.”

A borough council spokeswoman, speaking on behalf of the museum, said: “The students and their tutors were clearly briefed to work on a light-themed project, using the traditional mill and water as their inspiration.

“We made it clear to them that the exhibition space at the museum is used by very young children and to keep this in mind when creating their pieces.

“We fully support the need to raise awareness of mental health issues and are welcoming the display of all work within what is suitable for a local museum widely used by young families.

“Ultimately, we have responsibility to the community to exhibit items suitable for all ages, and on this occasion we felt we were unable to display everything submitted by the college.”

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