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  • Writer's pictureCerys Knighton

Exhibition exploring bipolar disorder as part of Arts for Health and Wellbeing at the Hearth Gallery

Showing in the Hearth Gallery for six weeks from June 15th – July 25th, ‘In the Seam’ is an exhibition of drawings and sculptures by Cerys Knighton, based on her PhD research and her experiences of living with bipolar disorder since childhood. This includes work created this year to help Cerys manage her condition during the lockdown periods.

Displayed in a clinical setting, the exhibition explores bipolarity in different spaces, threading between the medical, the domestic, and the natural. The artworks roam and catch in the seams between emotional states, perceptions of reality, sensory hypersensitivity, restoration, and decay, suturing internal structures of the body with external bodies of the natural landscape.

Cerys said: “The experience of bipolar in different spaces is a key element of my PhD research into the history and representations of this mental illness. The circumstances of the pandemic, and the specific experiences of place that we have all been dealing with, means space has also become a central feature for me in managing this condition day-to-day.

“I started working with sculpture for the first time during lockdown as a means of sensory grounding to reflect on the boundary between inside/outside, both in place and in perception of the body. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to have this work on display at the Hearth Gallery.”

Her sculptural work binds clay, driftwood, and flora that she shaped and dried into specific expressions. The exhibition also includes drawing, in which she combines pencil and ink pointillism – a drawing technique of layering thousands of individual ink dots to create artworks.

The largest exhibition of work drawn from her PhD to date, this collection analyses nineteenth-century representations of symptoms, diagnostic classifications, changes in treatment, experiences between spaces, as well as present self-reflection from Cerys in dialogue with the histories in her research.

Hearth Gallery and Exhibitions coordinator Molly Lewis said: Cerys’s ‘In the Seam’ Exhibition is a beautiful and refreshing display of work reflecting on personal lived experience and researched work into bipolar disorder. Utilising art to inform and inspire her ongoing PhD research, this exhibition is an example of how art and creativity plays a vital role in how we can communicate and educate in many different ways.

With a mixture of delicate techniques, each artwork is a story in itself which unfolds as you observe further into the style of pointillism that Cerys has perfected. With clever subtle hints of colour which suggest deeper concepts, Cerys’ work is inviting, intriguing and beautifully visual all at the same time.

We are delighted to host ‘In the Seam’ at the Hearth Gallery at University Hospital Llandough as part of our Arts for Health and Wellbeing agenda. Incorporating a diverse range of work from framed artwork and sculptures, and across our online platforms, the collection as a whole will be a welcomed area to spend time observing for our Staff, Patients, visitors and wider community.

The Hearth Gallery is located in University Hospital Llandough’s main plaza entrance and is currently open daily between 9am and 8pm for our patients, staff and restricted visitors on site. The gallery is one of a kind in Wales; a contemporary space situated in the heart of a clinical setting. The virtual exhibition can be viewed here:

The Hearth Gallery is part of the wider Arts for Health and Wellbeing Programme, an appeal at Cardiff & Vale Health Charity – the official charity of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. For more information please visit the Hearth Gallery’s website: or email

Cerys Knighton is an award-winning Welsh artist and medical humanities PhD student in Cardiff University and the University of Bristol, funded by the SWW DTP and supported by Disability Arts Cymru. For more details about Cerys’ artwork and research, please visit her website:

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