Artist raises awareness

Leigh Schneider is exhibiting in Hāwera.

A former Waipā based photographer based in Germany is helping raise awareness of mental health service in New Zealand.

Conceptual fine art photographer Leigh Schneider’s solo exhibition Beyond the Shadows shows her work on topics such as loss, isolation, sadness and depression.

“The last three years have seen an increased demand for mental health services including LifelineNZ who receive an estimated 300 calls and 1000 texts a day from people struggling with stress, anxiety, monetary pressures, loneliness and depression,” she said. “Of these calls and texts, 15-20 are made by people at high risk of suicide.”

The collection, featuring 12 photographic works, is being staged at Hāwera until March 15 and a portion of the proceeds from the South Taranaki exhibition will go to LifelineNZ.

“While my work might appear on the surface to be dark aesthetically, the core of my concepts focusses on the light. I’m inspired by the idea of a world beyond what we immediately see, as well as human emotion and the capacity we all have for transformation and growth. For this reason, I don’t really think of my work as ‘dark,’ as much as ‘stealthily optimistic.’“

LifelineNZ does not receive government funding while offering 24/7 services.

Schneider, who lives with her husband near Frankfurt,  spent her early years in Waipā and Queensland and has family in Cambridge.

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