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"Count to Four". Credit: Lee Kay Barry.

Seven Dials marks 2019 World Mental Health Day with launch of third artist’s artist project

In support and acknowledgement of World Mental Health Day on Thursday October 10, 2019, Shaftesbury has unveiled ‘Count to Four’, a new public artwork by emerging London-based artist Lee Kay-Barry, in Seven Dials.

The artwork is the third and final installation for Seven Dials’ The Artist’s Artist Project, an initiative which sees an ongoing series of free public artworks exhibited on a dedicated billboard in the unique retail and dining destination in the heart of London’s West End.

Displayed in Shorts Gardens, ‘Count to Four ’endeavours to convey a powerful and topical message around mental health. The artwork focuses around the number four, as Kay-Barry has recently taken up meditation classes to help maintain positive mental health where breathing exercises often involve him counting to four. Similarly, with one in four people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year, one of the four individuals pictured is painted in a deep blue colour, in contrast to the vivid bright colours of the other three figures.

Commenting on his work, Lee Kay-Barry said: “It provides a chance to open up discussion around certain topics and themes which people might not come into contact with during their day-to-day.”

Karen Baines, Head of Group Marketing and Communications at Shaftesbury, added: “With Seven Dials being such a prominent London destination, it is important to us to utilise it as a platform for initiatives and activations with purpose. The Artist’s Artist Project has been an excellent programme throughout 2019 to spotlight emerging artists, and this particular piece by Lee Kay-Barry will help us to address social stigma and encourage conversations in line with this year’s World Mental Health Day. We’re proud to unveil this final installation and look forward to the positive message it will spark amongst the Seven Dials community and visitors alike.”

The newly-unveiled installation follows in the footsteps of two successful pieces prior, with each artist nominating their successor. The first by Iona Rowland took inspiration from author Agatha Christie, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of her much-loved novel ‘The Seven Dials Mystery’. This was followed by an artwork by Rene Gonzalez in Spring 2019, paying tribute to the historic Sundial Pillar at the centre of the streets.

‘Count to Four’ will be on display in Shorts Gardens until the end of 2019 and will be supported alongside a range of other events and initiatives in Seven Dials to support World Mental Health Day and International Men’s Day.