At a time when there is a national discussion about mental health and attitudes to it, the Beaney is hosting the new exhibition Henry’s Demons in The Front Room Gallery.

Henry Cockburn is a highly-praised artist and author who spent eight years in mental hospitals after being diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2002. In 2011 he co-wrote a book, Henry’s Demons with his veteran war reporter father Patrick Cockburn describing his experiences. The book reached the top 10 in the Sunday Times bestseller list and formed the basis of a Radio 4 play.

For the Beaney exhibition, he has painted a series of 10 new pictures called 'My Journey' which depict his life before and after he was sectioned, giving a unique insight into conditions in a locked ward in a psychiatric hospital. The pictures show him being sectioned, escaping, hiding from the police, being forcibly sedated, held in a seclusion room, and, finally, returning to normal life.

The exhibition also includes other pictures on a wide variety of joyful themes, illustrating his creative power and celebrating his remarkable recovery. Much of the work is for sale.

There are two opportunities to meet the artist at the Beaney:

  • Saturday 20 May from 10.30am to 12.30pm in The Front Room Gallery, where Henry and his family will be available to talk informally about his experience of mental illness and recovery, and how these relate to his art by fuelling its visionary qualities.
  • Thursday 25 May from 6pm to 6.45pm, where there will be a free public talk in the Learning Lab: Art and Recovery: Henry’s Demons – with a chance to meet the authors and hear readings from the bestselling memoir Henry’s Demons (2011). This includes a question and answer session with the audience.

Henry's Demons runs from Saturday 20 May to Sunday 2 July.

More information.