Exhibition Review: To the lighthouse (and back)

Mental Fight Club Exhibition, Southwark Cathedral, London,

Until 15 May


Mental Fight Club, a new organisation whose name is a
fusion of literary titles (Ben Okri’s Mental Fight and Chuck
Palahniuk’s Fight Club), aims to use literature and other art forms
to promote understanding of mental health problems, writes Mark

This exhibition documents a trip to Lundy Island made by MFC
founder Sarah Wheeler and photographer Stephen Burrows as part of
Wheeler’s recovery from mental illness. The result is a series of
black and white photographs of the lighthouse and its

The monochrome images give a timeless feeling to the photographs,
and light and dark contrasts create a reflective mood. Most of the
images have solitary subjects, such as the lighthouse or tree,
evoking feelings of loneliness in a place of great beauty.

What adds a further dimension to this exhibition is the inclusion
of Wheeler’s writing about mental illness (a collection of which is
on sale in the Cathedral bookshop). Seascapes provide a rich source
of metaphors and we discover that lighthouses have a particular
significance for her. She describes a turning point where a
lighthouse figured prominently in her thoughts while contemplating
suicide on a previous trip to Beachy Head.

Viewed alongside Wheeler’s writing these photographs have an added
poignancy, ensuring this exhibition leaves a lasting impression.

Mark Drinkwater is a community worker in Southwark, South

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