Voices of Youth: A look at youth mental health, an art project

This story features the artwork of  Mahdi Hassnawi. Mahdi Hassnawi is a 14-year-old artist living in Kalamazoo Michigan. For this visual art project, Mahdi strives to represent the opportunities for growth in youth mental health and the solutions to help them. The Voices of Youth program is a collaboration between Southwest Michigan Second Wave and KYD Network, underwritten by the Stryker Johnston Foundation. 

There are many ways for youth to express their views and their voice.

For the summer 2022 Voices of Youth Mahdi Hassnawi’s expressed himself through artwork on the topics of youth mental health.

“The youth were able to pick their own topics, and it was clear those two belonged to Mahdi and his friend Adam, who jumped at the chance to represent the areas that needed improvement through artwork,” says the lead art mentor Casey Grooten.

Mahdi Hassnawi dyes a T-Shirt for his Voices of Youth art project .In class, Mahdi appeared to enjoy the days where we were creating the artwork best.

He created two T-shirts, dyed and painted, to depict someone struggling with mental health.

Outside of class, Mahdi spends a lot of time with his family and runs track.

Some photos of Mahdi creating the T-shirts and the finished artwork follows.

Mahdi Hassnawi dyes a T-Shirt for his Voices of Youth art project .
Mahdi Hassnawi dyes a T-Shirt for his Voices of Youth art project .The fihished piece.The finished piece.