“Below the Surface” Exhibit

Self-portrait of a person's head and neck, in black and white

Now through May, 2023 | Health Sciences Library Gallery

“Below the Surface,” by UMKC sociology student Jacob Lobdell, is a series of self-portraits depicting different mental disorders.

The exhibit was first displayed in the First Floor Gallery at Miller Nichols Library from October 2 – December 16, 2022, to coincide with Mental Illness Awareness Week, observed October 2-8, and Emotional Wellness Month, also observed in October.

The gallery containing Jacob Lobdell's "Below the Surface" exhibit
The gallery containing Jacob Lobdell’s “Below the Surface” exhibit

Statement from the artist

“This display is meant to remind everyone that they are not alone in their struggles with mental health issues, and to remind people to keep an open mind. You never know what someone could be going through on a day-to-day basis. It’s not something to be scared or ashamed of.

This collection consists of pieces from my final project in my senior year of high school for my AP Art Studio class; I chose to focus on mental health for the collection. I struggle with this every day, as do many of my friends. I wanted to create self-portraits that express the emotions and feelings associated with mental health struggles. Mental health issues may not look like this on the surface, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist in each and every one of us. I understand that these pieces may not represent everyone’s experiences with these mental health issues. This is how I envision these experiences.

The majority of school essays and research papers I have written are either dedicated to spreading awareness of different mental health issues or learning what I can about others and growing my knowledge about my own mental health. I have chosen a sociology degree with a minor in psychology. My career path will be focused towards providing therapy for younger audiences.

All it takes is a little bit of effort, a conversation even. All I can ask is that audiences be a little less assumptive and a little more thoughtful in everyday life.”

This exhibit is part of the UMKC Libraries Student Art Exhibits Program, dedicating gallery space in our libraries to share the creative and intellectual work of our students. Complete the Student Art Exhibits online application to be considered for exhibition.

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Case dimensions: 5’ long x 30” wide x 9” high sitting atop 3’ legs

Glass exhibit table


The First Floor Gallery is located just inside the main entrance of the Miller Nichols Library.

Wall with exhibit content

Conference Room 325

Located on the Third Floor of Miller Nichols Library. For access, enter the library at the north ground floor entrance or the west first floor entrance. Then take the stairs or the elevator to the third floor..

Map of third floor of Miller Nichols Library