Art exhibition celebrates differences, complexities in mental health

An art installation called Wheel by artist Hiromi Tango and Dr Emma Burrows at ArtScience Museum. PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS
An art Installation by Alecia Neo called Between Earth And Sky at the ArtScience Museum. PHOTO: ARTSCIENCE MUSEUM

SINGAPORE – Get on to a giant rainbow-coloured hamster wheel for a run. This installation, created by Australia-based artist Hiromi Tango and Australian neuroscientist Emma Burrows is one of 24 interactive exhibits and large-scale installations that is part of a new exhibition called Mental: Colours Of Wellbeing.

Tango says her work was made with the intention to heal and draws from her continuous fascination with what makes people happy.

The show, co-curated by the ArtScience Museum and Science Gallery Melbourne, is on at the ArtScience Museum till Feb 26. It features works created by artists, scientists, makers and designers from countries including Australia, the United States, Indonesia, Myanmar and Singapore.

The organisers say the exhibition is not about mental illness, treatments or cures, but “the celebration of difference and complexity”.

Honor Harger, vice-president of ArtScience Museum and Attractions at Marina Bay Sands, adds: “It will surprise and delight visitors through out-of-the box artwork that addresses serious topics head-on in an accessible manner.”

A mixed-media interactive installation called Go Mental by artist Josh Muir invites viewers to put their heads inside large inflatable cartoon heads. The soundscapes which can be heard within represent the highs and lows of the artist’s state of mind, as his art practice developed as a creative outlet for his mental health journey.

An art installation called Go Mental by Josh Muir at ArtScience Museum. PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS

Singapore artist Alecia Neo’s mixed-media installation, Between Earth And Sky, is about giving caregivers of those with mental health conditions the opportunity to process their experiences through performances that they choreograph themselves. This exercise culminated in a video, which is accompanied by kites hung from the ceiling that symbolise vulnerability and freedom.

Another Singapore artist, Tan Yang Er, references her own experiences with mental health for her work, Scenes From Therapy, which was partially commissioned by ArtScience Museum.

An art installation called Scenes From Therapy by Yangermeister (Tan Yang Er) and Yunora at ArtScience Museum. PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS

Tan – also known as Yangermeister – collaborated with Yunora, a Singapore-based social enterprise founded by creative technologist Akbar Yunus, which specialises in creating unique human experiences in the physical and digital worlds.

In Scenes From Therapy, creatures powered by technology and wearing wigs, together with two mirrored chairs, depict the emotions she experienced during her therapy sessions.

Tan also writes over receipts from therapy sessions and hangs these on the wall, as a way to take on the responsibility of rebuilding her mind. Art, she says, is a way for her to “keep the crazy to the canvas”.

Mental: Colours Of Wellbeing

Where: ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront AvenueWhen: Until Feb 26, 2023; 10am to 7pm daily
Admission: Tickets start at $18 for adults and $14 for concessions at all Marina Bay Sands box offices and website

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