Bezerk provides artistic opportunities for people with mental disabilities

Temple of Doom, 2022. Painting by Linda Sibiu, gouache on watercolor paper, 8'x4'.

Is artistic expression a viable way to deal with mental challenges? Judging by hard work Bezerk Productionsthe answer is “yes”.

Linda Sibiuthe local artist who launched the non-profit arts group – known as “Broken eggs” In 2001, he has worked in various media including painting, installation and performance art since the mid-1980s. The goal of Bezerk is twofold: to raise awareness about interdisciplinary art for people with severe mental disabilities and also to provide unique educational art and career opportunities for that often underserved population.

“I noticed I had schizophrenia when I was working on Skid Row,” says Sibiu, who has since been known as a “schizophrenic artist.” After a group called Operation Hammer was started, she was encouraged to “go out” and tell people she had schizophrenia because that would allow others with the condition to do the same.

“I did it publicly in 1991, and I’ve been dealing with these issues ever since,” she says, referring to the stigma against people with schizophrenia and other mental health issues. Over the years, Sibio has found her own support group of artists, administrators, and other people who value and appreciate her work.

The Guillotine of Wall Street, 2022. Still performance by Linda Sibiu.  Blake Brousseau wallpaper.

“They give me advice and when I get frustrated, they talk to me and encourage me to keep working to do my best job,” she says. “So for mentally challenged people trying to enter the art world, everyone they meet can be a potential supporter. It’s important to nurture those relationships, and I try to help people with that.”