This artist uses an ice cream van to talk about grief and mental health

Grief is often thought of as something that people handle privately, but this period of collective loss is changing how we mourn. Artist Annie Nicholson (who goes by The Fandangoe Kid) also believes in shattering the taboo around loss, trauma, and mental health. “Grief is a part of life and on that comes to us all,” she says. “The sooner we find ways in which we can start to share this, the less overwhelming I believe the world will be.”

To spread this message, Nicholson is on a mission to publicly explore all these topics on tour across the UK. Her vehicle? An ice-cream van stocked with yummy flavors to sweeten the tough taste of mourning.

Nicholson is not a stranger to grief. In 2011, she lost most of her close family in a terrible accident, and since then has used her creativity to delve into these heavy issues in a healthy way. Though she has quite a lot of work on display in institutions and galleries, these venues aren’t always the most accessible, and she recognized that many people might feel uncomfortable in these spaces.

Her passion for working with young people and marginalized communities drew her toward the fun and casual ice-cream van. That way, visitors can drop by for free ice cream and a chat, or sign up for a talk or workshop.

“We have all experienced a loss of some sort this past year, whether a physical loss of loved ones or a loss of lifestyle and routine or both,” she says. She hopes that her ice-cream van tour will encourage people to reflect on deeper questions such as, “How have we survived lockdown? How are we processing the grief of all we have lost? And how can we do this together?”

To see where Nicholson plans to be serving scoops of delicious ice cream with a side of mental health and grief release, check out the crowdfunded Fandangoe Whip page. So far, locations include London, Southend, and St. Helens, but she has plans to make an appearance in Scotland, Liverpool, Manchester, and Margate. The Fandangoe Whip is scheduled to be a part of the London Design Festival in September and the Canary Wharf World Mental Health program this year as well.

Source Image: Fandangoe Kid

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