Hope: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in surrealist form
‘I am doing this because the world needs hope. With hope we can overcome the onslaught of constant negative messages from traditional and new media which can cause us despair. With hope, we can overcome the paralysis of worry, a habit we can get into which serves no useful purpose and can even make us ill. Hope can help us overcome the challenges of mental illness, something which has become an increasing problem since the global pandemic which started in 2020. Most importantly, hope creates a feeling of expectation and that can create the desire to achieve the very thing we hope for. And it is desire, not ability, that determines our success.’
This exhibition, which forms part of our 'Art of Wellbeing' series of exhibitions this year, explores ‘Hope’, and each image conveys an element of Maslow's theory, beginning with our need for fresh air, clean water, nutritious food, shelter, sex, etc., and eventually through to what Maslow called ‘self-actualisation’. Hope comes from the fact that we can reach higher levels of being and that this hope creates an expectation. In turn, that expectation can lead to a desire to reach that higher level. Desire to reach a goal, rather than raw ability, is what the artist believes is the key element of personal success.
George Berrie was born in Fallin, near Stirling, where he grew up in relative poverty in the 1960s. After leaving school he went to Heriot Watt University to read actuarial mathematics but became disillusioned and joined an insurance company to earn money. At 39 he became the CEO of the largest insurance company in New Zealand, and a few years later he was appointed to the board of Norwich Union, then became a director with Aviva.
The ‘golden spur’ to escape his childhood poverty, having done its job, caused him to reflect on future goals. It was at this point that he was inspired to do an arts degree at Stirling University, relinquishing his business roles and becoming a full-time student. After graduating in 2015, he went on a sabbatical to Beirut, Lebanon, to discover what he wanted to achieve over the next five years. The desire to become a digital artist, and this resultant collection of images, were two products of that exercise.
The project reflects his observation of Maslow’s theory in real life during his career, coupled with the knowledge of theory from his studies. His aim is that the images will create an initial curiosity, followed by a sense of familiarity, and then an interaction that involves some emotion. His next portfolio is being planned and is based on dreams. He lives in Perth with his wife Julie.