Belfast Telegraph

Leslie's art a real dose of therapy

By Amanda Ferguson

It was one of the darkest times in his life, but one that provided the inspiration for a series of stunning paintings.

A Northern Ireland artist has spoken of the importance of his work in helping him deal with the anguish of his wife having treatment for breast cancer.

Leslie Nicholl decided to pay tribute to wife Elaine and her brave battle in a series of striking paintings inspired by the classical Greek myth of the love between Orpheus and Eurydice.

The new work will go on display as part of the Wide Justice exhibition at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast from today until October 16, forming part of the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.

Leslie, who splits his time between Bangor, Co Down, and Berlin, Germany, is speaking out to highlight the mental health challenges he faced when Elaine was treated for cancer seven years ago by the "superb staff" at the Ulster and City Hospitals.

"I realised that if I did not talk about it, then I was going to make myself extremely ill.

"By doing that and painting, the nightmare became less frightening. Mostly, it was the desire to remain well enough to look after Elaine."

For more information on the festival, visit

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