Art Therapy Meets: Art Therapy and Mental Health Come Together

MINDSET Care Limited, the registered charity of the Jardine Matheson Group, together with Singapore Association for Mental Health, has unveiled “Art Therapy Meets” – a four part art exhibition at Our Tampines Hub running through the weekend to raise awareness of art therapy and its impact on mental health and well-being.

The exhibition, together with guided tours, allows participants to gain awareness about how past experiences can impact an individual’s well-being, the importance of active care and the benefits of art therapy. On display include 25 artworks by individuals who have gone through or are still undergoing art therapy, as well as artworks created by art therapists who were inspired by their professional engagement with youth impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences (“ACE”).

MINDSET’s Chairman, Mr Alex Newbigging shared, “Jardines, through MINDSET, is committed to supporting mental health – whether it is fighting stigma or supporting persons-in-recovery. When MINDSET funded the startup of SAMH Creative MINDSET in 2014, we wanted a dedicated centre for the arts to allow persons-in-recovery to uncover and express their emotions through creative means. We are glad that today, SAMH not only provides an art-based programme but an art therapy service that is open to anyone seeking support for their mental well-being. Through Art Therapy Meets, we want to share the benefits of art therapy with members of the public.”

Art Therapy Meets runs from 20 to 21 July 2019 at Festive Walk East, Our Tampines Hub as part of the Tampines Arts Nation – PassionArts Festival 2019. Besides the Art Therapy Meets exhibition, members of the public can participate in activities like Scaling the Merlion where one paints on the scales of the merlion and Neon Singapore which makes use of recycled items to form a mega installation.

Art therapy is beneficial for everyone, whether it is someone who has a major mental or physical illness or someone who simply wants to improve his or her mental well-being. This is because everyone undergoes stress due to different factors in life, and stress affects human development. Art therapy allows one to process his or her life experiences and develop deeper insights into what makes him or her feel unhappy or unwell. Among the artworks displayed at Art Therapy Meets is one created by Grace (name changed for anonymity).

She attended art therapy to enhance personal growth and connect with her emotions better. Grace’s artworks are self-reflective and depicts her journey with art therapy. One of her artworks combines a variety of leaves from nature with the rigid structure of wires. For Grace, the leaves signify emotional freedom as she undergoes art therapy while the wires represent the restriction of entering the rigid world she knows of as her therapy sessions come to an end. Her silver lining is depicted by the intricate and beautiful shadows the wires create when light is cast on it. Observing the shadows, Grace feels more comfortable and assured as she faces the uncertainties in her future.

At Art Therapy Meets, participants can sign up for a guided and interactive tour of the exhibition. The four segments of the exhibition are:

The experiences and voices of adversities in childhood often go unheard. Since the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study was published more than two decades ago, many others have reaffirmed the link between toxic stress in childhood and the lifelong implications for both psychological and physiological well-being. These artworks by art therapists are a response to their professional experiences working with vulnerable young persons impacted by poverty, abuse, neglect and also household dysfunctions that cut across social divisions. Their artworks are reflective inquiries into their professional practice and articulate the art therapists’ explorations of complex relationships between individuals and within communities. As art therapists, they are inspired to advance the informative ACE Study to a wider audience and contribute towards cultivating resilience in and support for individuals and communities impacted by ACE.

Learn about art therapy through a series of artworks by seven individuals who underwent art therapy to support their well-being. These pieces capture the emotions and aspirations of these individuals in their self-discovery and recovery journey.

Self-reflection is an integral part of art therapy. Participants will carry out a reflective art activity based on what they have learnt and experienced in the first two segments – Past and Lives.

Social belonging is integral to our well-being. The art-making process is a bridge that “loops” people together beyond our individual differences and celebrates rather than discriminates. Despite our different quirks and imperfections, participants and members of the public come together to create a shared identity that is both vibrant and beautiful. Create an art loop and make a connection with someone today.

Says Ms Ngo Lee Yian, Executive Director of SAMH: “Art Therapy Meets is an exhibition with guided tours to educate and provide a meaningful reflective experience to the community. The public can learn about the lifelong impact of adverse childhood experiences on well-being, as well as how art therapy supports mental wellness. There is also space for the public to create and contribute to our community art manifesto to raise awareness on the importance of social inclusion for the mental well-being of our community.”

For more information on art therapy, visit the SAMH website here

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