In 1976, Ben Martini was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. A decade later, his brother Olivier was told he had the same disease. The past thirty years have seen the Martini family struggle to understand and cope with a devastating illness, frustrated at turns by a health care system lacking in resources and empathy, the imperfect science of medication, and the strain of mental illness on familial relationships. Throughout it all, Olivier, an accomplished visual artist, drew - sketches, comic strips, portraits - documenting his own experience and capturing the essence of a very misunderstood disease. "Bitter Medicine" places Olivier's graphic narrative alongside a written account of the past three decades by his younger brother, and award-winning playwright, Clem Martini. Together, the two brothers face head-on the stigma attached to mental illness and reveal a very human reality. Shot through with wry humour and unapologetic in its politics. "Bitter Medicine" is the story of the Martini family, an intimate portrait of illness, and an important and timely call for action.
Oliver Martini is a former student of the Alberta College of Arts who lives and works in Calgary. He generates visual artwork in a variety of forms. His sketches, paintings, and prints have been displayed at the Marion McGrath Gallery, published in Alberta Views magazine, and were included as part of the Canadian Mental Health's Copernicus Project.