Warrior Within 2016

What People Are Saying About Warrior Within

The four days I spent photographing Warrior Within were amazing. Surrounded by like minded people, and artists who understand what it's like to struggle with mental illness, was truly great. In the four days we spent filming, painting, dancing, and writing, I made friends from different grades and schools, and worked with an inspiring mentor, Catherine Farquharson. In such a short amount of time, everyone at Warrior Within became a real team, because we are all so passionate about the project. Mental illness is a pressing issue, and it's important kids and teens are educated, so they know they aren't alone. I'm really looking forward to designing an accessible mental health curriculum with the Warrior Within team in the months to come. This project was incredible and I know it will stay with me for years to come.

The Warrior Within was mostly an observatory project for me, one where I stood back, watched, and reflected.

Most of the time when you look at an artwork, you wonder what the intent was behind it, and how it was created. Being part of the Warrior Within allowed me to talk to the artists themselves, and see the progress of their work. It also allowed me to see what struggles that each of the artwork represented for them. It made me wonder, why did those things happen in the first place? Why did she cut herself? How have those experiences shaped them? Though it wasn't really my place to ask such questions, it did remind me that people are going through things all the time, whether you can see it or not.

I'm curious about people. About myself. And perhaps, with Warrior Within, I can start to understand other people more, and find them within myself. To see how one with those experiences can influence one without such experiences, and how we can learn and connect with each other.

And I hope to bring these questions and emotions of the people behind the project into the final film, within the musical soundtrack.

I was unsure of what to expect upon joining the Warrior Within team, but my nervous thoughts were instantly settled when I arrived at our studio and met our art mentor, Rosa. She greeted me and my team with warmth and seemed very excited to get us started. After experimenting with different media, some of which I'd never thought to try, let alone heard of, we began to plan our multimedia canvases.

We were to use several media to depict stages of a mental health journey in our lives. Being a painter, I'd always feared using anything other than paint as a medium and so I often found myself playing it on the "safe" side of art, avoiding anything that I hadn't done or seen done before.

This project helped me understand the harm in my thought process. I recognized that I could easily become trapped in a mindset of self-doubt and apprehension, skeptical of my own instincts and unable to accept "mistakes". This was hindering my creative process. I never thought I'd see the day when I'd do a multimedia painting, but with Warrior Within I created a work that involved a black-and-white print, tissue paper, ink, nails (!), and acrylic paint (of course).

I'm now working on translating this non-perfectionistic mindset into everyday tasks, be it art or essay-writing. Sometimes not following the rules and letting the imagination run wild can generate the most spectacular and fulfilling results.

Hi Catherine. I stumbled onto you Warrior Within and have to thank you for the work you are doing. I am a very strong believer that schools need to become more involved with the Mental Health of our youth. With the properly trained people in our schools youth at risk can be helped early in their struggles so they can receive the help that they need before it becomes more severe. I was scrolling through the pictures with tears rolling down my face thinking of my son Shayne and what he could have accomplished. You see my family lost Shayne to suicide on March 3, 2014 at the age of 17, he struggled with severe depression and anxiety. Here are a couple of articles about Shayne's and our story, you are welcome to share if you think they could help someone in need. Thanks for this Warrior Within Project.