Harnessing Art for Healing
The Big Story:
Mindscapes – How Can Art Transform Conversations About Mental Health?
There is no denying the healing power of the arts for our mental health. Studies show how fundamental creativity is to the human experience, and the art sector continues to find new ways for culture to connect communities locally, nationally and across the globe. A prime example is Mindscapes, an international cultural programme produced by Wellcome Trust, which aspires to paint an honest and intimate picture of our collective mental health. One of its major projects, ‘I Hope This Helps’ is a first-of-its-kind feature film created by the award-winning production team behind Life in a Day – the largest mass-participation feature film in history. The producers are inviting anyone to submit video footage of what they have found to be most useful on their mental health journey, through a live open call that seeks to crowd-source footage from every corner of the world. The project aims to destigmatise discussions around mental illness, minimising the unnecessary side effects of shame and isolation, while also inspiring new research into areas that appear to make a difference. You can learn how to take part in this extraordinary project here.
Over the past year and a half, Mindscapes has staged a series of artist residencies, exhibitions and community events in cities around the world, including Bengaluru, Berlin, New York, and Tokyo. Centred on hyper-local conversations around mental health, the programme’s most recent iteration took place in Bengaluru, a city where multiple identities co-exist in the form of different languages and dialects. In this structure of segregation, artist-in-residence Indu Antony sought to find a common language for the women of the region, organising a series of workshops in Lingarajapuram where they stitched personal stories in cloth, while contemplating questions on well-being and identity. Some of these textile artworks were woven into a permanent place for the community called Namma Katte (Kannada for “Our Space”), while others are still on display in an exhibition at the Museum of Art and Photography in Bengaluru. The former setting serves as a place of leisure where women – irrespective of their age, caste, language, religion and work – can relax in a safe space for healing in togetherness.
What do these two projects have to teach us about art’s capacity for healing? Perhaps that creativity is the most powerful conduit for communicating shared struggles, despite our differences.
People, Places & Ideas
Hospital Rooms, an arts and mental health charity, brings hope and healing to patients in London’s mental health facilities by commissioning site-specific, museum-quality art. (Louisa Buck, The Art Newspaper)
On Wednesday 2nd August, Tate Britain is hosting a discussion on mental health, representation, and art, chaired by Dr Maggie Matić, and inspired by their current exhibition The Rossettis. (Tickets available here)
British artist David Shrigley has often touted the power of the arts for mental and physical health, even using it to manage his own anxiety. His works and self-help book satirically address the highs and lows of life. (Instagram)
“We’re standing on the verge of a cultural shift in which the arts can deliver potent, accessible proven health and well-being solutions to billions of people.” (Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen on their new book, Your Brain on Art)
Young people are creating an ‘online museum’ as a way of improving their mental health. The new research programme will run from 2023-2028, and is a collaboration between NHS Trusts, multiple UK universities, with museum and charity partners. (Read more about ORIGIN project here)
Creating art, as well as activities like attending a concert or visiting a museum, are crucial to our well-being. Here are some easy ways to elevate your mood through the Arts. (Christina Caron, The New York Times)
Dates for your Diary
26 July – 4 October
de PURY Presents… 2023 Auction Series
1 – 4 August
6 – 9 September
15 September– 4 November
Bárbara Sánchez-Kane: New Lexicons for Embodiment
kurimanzutto, New York
11 – 15 October
Frieze London & Masters
Until 22 October
Nairy Baghramian: Jupon de Corps
Aspen Art Museum, Colorado
Until 7 January 2024
Eve Arnold: To Know About Women
Newlands House Gallery, Petworth
Until 31 March 2024
Remedios: Where new land might grow
C3A and TBA21, Andalusia