It’s very strange to explain or represent physically something you first experience in your mind and your head. Sometimes, a palpable representation is more accurate and real than ever. In an era where every generation can be affected by mental illnesses, organizations are sometimes struggling to raise awareness on mental health.
United Nations Children’s Fund, short for UNICEF, has worked with Domestic Data Streamers, a digital agency that combines the power of storytelling with data to create participatory projects that build community and educate, to create a “mental health awareness” art installation.
In this specific case, data brought by Unicef reveal that “an alarming number of 100.000 children aged 15-24 experience anxiety or depression in France”. To spark conversations about such complex issues children face today as a result of the pandemic, Domestic Data Streamers decided to 3D print 10 busts of real children. The art installation, named “On Our Minds”, took place during the recent Global Summit of Mental Health 2021 in Paris held on October 5th and 6th.
“Usually, we do homages to kings and queens and older people and conquerors. We thought it would be a beautiful idea to pay homage to all these young people who have been suffering in especially difficult conditions during the pandemic”, Martina Nadal, Head of Social Impact at Domestic Data Streamers states.
For the manufacturing phase of the project, the team at Domestic Data Streamers relied on BCN3D’s 3D printing, to fabricate the replicas of real children’s faces. Leveraging the print farm of Epsilon W50s, they 3D printed the busts in ABS for a smooth finish and then painted in bright colors.
“We chose to use colors in the installation, first of all, because even if mental health is a really serious topic we still wanted it to be joyful because it speaks about childhood, and also because in that way we could represent diversity”, Natalia Santolaria, Creative Director of Domestic Data Streamers comments.
With this art installation, Unicef and Domestic Data Streamers got people engaged and drew attention of policy-makers as they entered the summit.
The printed parts were accompanied by volunteers, who shared stories of the interviewed children’s experiences with mental health struggles in the hope that these testimonies could help others. These stories covered a vast range of topics such as racism, cyberbullying, and the pressure of having such a busy school schedule that children lacked the time to truly get to know themselves, a press release notes.
It is often said that the great art of learning is to understand but little at a time. This art installation was certainly a deep yet necessary dive into raising awareness on an underestimated issue.
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