Veterans from the Helensburgh area have opened an exhibition of “therapeutic” artwork highlighting their experiences of war and life after the military.

The Scottish Submarine Centre in Helensburgh will be displaying WarHead, an exhibition of original artworks, paintings, digital art, and photography combined with video and audio, from Friday, March 8 to Friday, March 15.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Lake by Sam GillespieLake by Sam Gillespie (Image: Sam Gillespie)

The men behind the exhibition, Jason Fearnley and Mac McDade, are Royal Navy veterans, who now teach woodcraft and art, respectively, at the Erskine Reid McEwan Activities Centre (ERMAC) within Erskine Veterans Hospital.

Jason, an ex-submariner, came up with the dea when he started creating art again after many years.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Accent by J.FearnleyAccent by J.Fearnley (Image: J.Fearnley)

He said: “The veterans we work with inspire us daily. Some have mental health issues, but they find the act of creating extremely therapeutic.

“It brings them together, allowing them to feel comfortable engaging with one another and this helps create a support network without pressure or fear, something that many miss from their time in service.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: REME by J.McDadeREME by J.McDade (Image: J.McDade)

The project hopes to explore and help veterans work through depression, anxiety, angst, grief, and loneliness.

Mac, a veteran of the Falklands War, said: “The arts and aesthetic experiences impact human biology and behaviour in ways that differ markedly from any other health intervention.

“The human brain is uniquely wired for art.

“This event is our invitation to view, feel and explore how visual aesthetics can have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: Portrait of my twin brother by Nik CourtneyPortrait of my twin brother by Nik Courtney (Image: Nik Courtney)

The Submarine Centre’s exhibition space is dominated by the 53ft X51 Stickleback submarine and contains a 360o projection and sound system to create an immersive experience.

The exhibition is supported by HELP - Jim’s Story, a fund under The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, set up by the family and friends of Royal Navy Captain Jim Simpson who took his own life in 2020.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Pieces by Mac McDadePieces by Mac McDade (Image: Mac)

The group’s aim is to increase knowledge, awareness, and understanding around mental health.

They also provide education to help recognise symptoms of poor mental health in ourselves and others, and aim to destigmatise and treat mental health as seriously as physical health conditions.

The exhibition will be closed on Wednesday, March 13.

Helensburgh Advertiser: INCOMING! by Mac McDadeINCOMING! by Mac McDade (Image: INCOMING! by Mac McDade)