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For the second year, WPSC’s Addressing Stigma & Bias Workgroup is featuring artwork as a powerful way to connect with patients’ experiences with health conditions. Our focus this year is mental illness & behavioral health.

Art is not only beautiful, it is a potent medium of expression. Evocative and compelling, it touches the soul and connects in a way no other medium can.

Featured artwork this year include art and a poem by PNW residents Louie Gong, Mahvish Naqvi, Munira Leslie Sinclair and Anita Sulaiman as well as a poem by model-turned actress and mental health advocate, Cara Delevingne. Big thank you to the artists for sharing their compelling pieces with us.


Visual Art


ART PIECE: Black Sheep
Click here for a video showing the making of this piece

Click here for artist’s biography and link to Eighth Generation.

ARTIST INFO: Louie Gong (Nooksack) is the founder of Eighth Generation. A self-taught artist who was raised by his grandparents in the Nooksack tribal community in northwest Washington, he got his start by painting cultural art on shoes.

Realizing that creating one-of-a-kind pieces did not provide a sustainable pathway to success, he began applying his artwork to accessibly priced products. His unique style merges traditional Coast Salish art with influences from his mixed heritage and urban environment to create work that resonates widely across communities and cultures.

Black Sheep is about drawing power from past experiences— even traumas. It is about self-care.

“I’ve been thinking about the term baggage, and it’s all wrong. When we think about our past experiences as something we can just put down, we can’t actually heal. The real pathway to becoming stronger and more confident versions of ourselves is to learn to live in symbiosis with our past experiences.”

The Black Sheep’s body is composed of Louie’s signature wolf-mouth motif, which he uses here to symbolize negative past experiences. It is painted loosely to indicate the frequent movement of and the idea that our past experiences are living parts of us that we can’t simply set down as if they were “baggage.”

By contrast, the Black Sheep’s face is composed of highly structured Coast Salish design elements to indicate the self-confidence drawn from the understanding that past experiences make us better equipped to manage whatever lies ahead.  A few understated sprouts indicate constant growth regardless of what we are experiencing.


ART PIECE: Bleed Joy

ARTIST NAME: Tahira Naqvi

ARTIST INFO: I am a new artist venturing out to create artwork that speaks to mental health struggles. Childhood trauma is a big factor in my art, which is abstract and comes from the heart. It delves into deep wounds and the quest to achieve joy through self-reflection. I speak through colors and shapes that represent this journey of self-healing.

When I started on this piece, I did not know what to create, but I knew I wanted to display my pain, my joy, and my journey. So, I faced the canvas and decided to just let it flow. This piece has chaos, joy and a dark passenger. All representing the struggle between my child and adult selves. There is a hot air balloon. When I was little, I always wanted to escape. One day, I took my mom’s large shoe box and tied her red scarf to its four ends, after which, I walked out to our balcony and tried to leap off to go explore the world. Except, my grandfather saved me.

I have a natural instinct to leap forward and escape. It took cycles of anxiety to create this very personal piece. “Bleed Joy” is for everyone dealing with mental chaos and anxiety in their lives. My hope is that, by putting this out there, I will finally heal and find contentment.


ART PIECE: Untitled

ARTIST NAME: Munira Leslie Sinclair

ARTIST INFO: Munira Leslie Sinclair was a talented visual artist, eloquent writer & devoted mother to her children, including an adult son with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Much of her artwork was inspired by her struggles through some very difficult times as well as the unrelenting challenges of trying to ensure quality care for her son with special needs, in a system not well set up for patients like him. A passionate patient advocate, she worked to improve the lives of those with TBI through legislation & advocacy training. While she faced adversity & bouts of cancer with fortitude, art was her outlet.

Leslie passed away on September 30, 2022. Special thanks go to her daughter, Jennifer, who has given WPSC’s Addressing Stigma & Bias Workgroup permission to share these 2 pieces with our audience.






Everything is touched
by the sea of time.
We are life forms
on the shore
of existence.
No matter how you try
to be immovable,
time moves you.
It caresses you,
lulls you,
embraces you.
Just as you’re buoyed
into a comfortable slumber,
it snatches you,
pulls you out
& swallows you.
It swirls you around
& sucks you in.
just as suddenly,
it floats you,
onto its surface.
The winds of change
calm to a whisper.
You feel it
cushioning you,
as you lay
with your face to the sky.
Then it stirs,
picks you up,
carries you
on a wave;
pushes you forward,
races you
back to shore
& deposits you,
onto the sand.
Glistening in the sun,
you catch your ragged breath. And settle down.
Before long,
you’re feeling the breeze
on your face,
looking up at the stars
& thinking:
I could stay like this forever.
You inhale the stillness…
Then it wakes you
from your reverie.
It foams
at your feet,
kissing your toes,
nudging you.
It teases you
into motion.
you move to the tide’s rhythmic touch,
sway to its hypnotic gyrations
& join,
the dance of life.

Tomorrow becomes today.
Today becomes yesterday. Yesterday is but a memory.
Did we remember to live in today?

© 2020 Anita Sulaiman


ARTIST NAME: Anita Sulaiman

ARTIST INFO: Anita Sulaiman is Principal Consultant and Executive Coach at IBEX Consulting, whose areas of expertise include strategy, leadership development, marketing and change management/business process re-engineering. Anita is also a culture coach specializing in cultural competency and cross-cultural communication. Helping individuals and organizations excel in a global world is a passion.

Anita stays at the forefront of efforts to improve patient safety, serving on advisory groups and committees for organizations including the Washington Patient Safety Coalition, Foundation for Health Care Quality (Patient & Family Advisory Council) and Washington State Coalition for Language Access. She is Chair of the Addressing Stigma and Bias Workgroup, a partnership between WPSC and the Bree Collaborative, a healthcare non-profit established by the Washington State Legislature.

Everything Changes was written at a time of emotional turmoil. In the midst of personal upheaval, thanks to the practice of meditation to help with her mental health, this poem about the vagaries of time captures moments of clarity from seeing that change, while invariably very stress-inducing, are part of the ebb & flow of life.



Who am I? Who am I trying to be?
Not myself, anyone but myself.
Living in a fantasy to bury the reality,
Making myself the mystery,
A strong facade disguising the misery.
Empty, but beyond the point of emptiness,
Full to brim with fake confidence,
A guard that will never be broken,
Because I broke a long time ago.
I’m hurting but don’t tell anyone.
No one needs to know.
Don’t show or you’ve failed.
Always okay, always fine, always on show.
The show must go on.
It will never stop.
The show must not go on,
But I know it will.
I give up. I give up giving up.
I am lost.
I don’t need to be saved,
I need to be found.


ARTIST NAME: Cara Delevingne

ARTIST INFO: Cara Delevingne, actress and model, shares her personal experiences with anxiety and depression.