‘Dualities’ exhibit opens eyes to mental disorders

Malia Riggs, For the Review

“I have two personalities, the side I can actually show to the world and the side of how I really feel,” Professor of Art Liz Obert said during a panel discussion on her “Dualities” exhibit on Sept. 30.

Dealing with bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) and depression is a growing problem not only in young people but nationally, today.

Obert captured the essence of depression and bipolar disorder in her photography exhibit.

She took photos of subjects who are suffering from bipolar disorder and shows the different sides of how they’re affected by their illnesses.

Obert started this project because she, too, suffers from bipolar disorder.

“I wanted to show that a lot of people do suffer from this disorder along with depression and that they are not alone,” Obert said. “Having someone you can call makes all the difference.”

“Dualities” is a series of work that shows how different people suffer from bipolar disorder and how it is becoming more common in today’s society. Obert shows this through a series of two different photographs of each of her subjects.

“I wanted to capture the two personalities that I show to the world.  In the first picture, I photograph how they react when they are in a depressed or low state, in the second picture I capture how they want to be seen or perceived by the world as themselves,” Obert said.

After having “Dualities” published on Slate, an online photo blog and magazine, she started to gain popularity around the U.S., and was able to travel to the east coast to photograph some of her subjects.

“I started out photographing friends, and friends of friends, but after the article was published people actually started to contact me about my project. I am lucky to have such an outpouring number of models,” Obert said.

One of Obert’s subjects, who is a local to the Willamette valley said “I saw Liz’s work, and thought that this is a very positive way to view my and many others diagnosis, and realized someone is actually saying this is a significant thing. It really scared me when I found out that she was in the same town as me, I had to contact her.”

Her popularity continues to grow throughout the McMinnville and Yamhill county area and is gaining praises from an array of people.

“What she is doing is phenomenal, I’m so impressed. She is putting a face on all this and that takes real guts,” said Laura Rodgers, a psych nurse practitioner at Linfield’s Portland campus.

As a culture we tend to push mental illness aside, Obert decides to bring it up front and get people to understand that its ok to be different.