A message from the founder of HoldOn2Hope:
As I finished writing the messy first draft of A Breath Too Late, I realized that my mission to use art for mental health awareness and suicide prevention was meant to live beyond those pages. Back in 2014, it felt like a dream to be able to unite artists from around the world around suicide prevention. But after years of heart and intention, that dream has become a reality. I wrote the very first page of A Breath Too Late as a flash fiction piece for World Suicide Prevention in 2013 so I find it so fitting that this exhibition launches on September 10th, World Suicide Prevention Day in 2021.
The art exhibition currently features artists from Malaysia, United States, Barbados, Scotland, United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Philippines, India, Ireland, Thailand, Japan, Haiti, Kenya and South Africa.
Some art pieces showcase pain while others underscore hope. Some are bursting with color and others are subtle shades of grey. I think every piece contributes to the diverse collective experiences of mental health as well as a reminder that we are not alone and even in the dark, our hearts, our art, our lives matter.
ABOUT THE CO-CURATORS
Rocky Callen (she/her) is the founder of The HoldOn2Hope Project and the author of A Breath Too Late. A Breath Too Late was named a Chicago Library Best Book of the Year and a Kirkus Best Book of the Year in 2020. It was featured on BuzzFeed, BookRiot, Mujerista, and Publishers Weekly. She is also a co-editor of the forthcoming anthology, Ab(solutely) Normal, a collection of hope-filled stories featuring teen protagonists living with mental health conditions. Before becoming a novelist, she was a behavioral coach for over a decade. She has a MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a member of Las Musas, a Latinx collective of authors in children's literature. She is currently a Trabajadoras Fellow. She is passionate about raising awareness of these issues for young people while working towards social and legislative change.
Martina Maya-Callen (she/her) is an internationally recognized artist, activist, and educator. She utilizes the arts to uproot a culture of silence and to spread awareness on social issues and promote education. Maya-Callen is the Founder of Love Your Vessel, a social movement to promote body acceptance and combat eating disorders. She was a facilitator for the United Nations and has also been published through the UN. Her work was listed as one of the top 13 most inspiring body-positive moments of 2017 by Cosmopolitan. She has spoken to thousands of students around the globe and was a recent teacher for the She has been internationally featured in Yahoo!, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, and Glamour, and her work has brought her to Argentina, Uruguay, Serbia, India, and England, promoting worldwide conversations.
They are sisters.