Last Sunday, volunteers for the Wake County chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness placed hundreds of 45-inch-high irises with 14-inch blooms on a half-acre of the grounds of Rex Hospital at the corner of Blue Ridge Road and Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh.
The landscape-art installation is a re-creation of Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises, painted while the artist was in a mental institution, a year before his death in 1890.
The event was part of NAMI Wake’s eighth-annual Celebration of Hope. NAMI has adopted the iris as a “symbol of hope and courage.”
“Our goal is to raise awareness that mental illnesses are brain disorders,” NAMI Wake’s Ann Akland said in a release, “that with treatment there is hope, and that there is no reason for blame or shame.”