His series, "Abstract Peaces", acts like a visual diary, chronicling "a person who was trying to breath during a very difficult time, trying to find themselves, trying to make sense of their struggle. And what they found was peace." Through his art, Maela hopes to help advocate for mental health, especially among the black communities in both South Africa and around the world. The biggest message Maela works depict is that there is no shame in mental illness, rather there is an opportunity to break the silence by sharing stories of experience, recovery, and hope.
""Growing up in a black community you quickly learn that there is a list of problems that do not ‘affect’ black people:
Mentally ill? Bewitched, or you simply study too hard.
Depressed? Lighten up, you’ve been watching way too many of those white teen movies.
Seeing a psychologist? You’re weak and should probably stop that before the neighbours find out.""
To check out this story and Maela's works of art click here: