24 shades of mental: ArtScience Museum turns mental health colorful in new exhibit

Wheel (2021) by Hiromi Tango and Dr Emma Burrows. Photo: ArtScience Museum
Wheel (2021) by Hiromi Tango and Dr Emma Burrows. Photo: ArtScience Museum

ArtScience Museum is unveiling an exhibit tomorrow aimed at normalizing conversations about mental health issues and painting them in a more colorful light.

MENTAL: Colours of Wellbeing showcases 24 diverse interactive installations that tackle weighty topics like addiction, anxiety and suicide by contemporary artists, scientists, makers, and designers from around the world. It uses colors to discuss the bleak and dark depressing issues.

“MENTAL: Colours of Wellbeing upends our assumptions about how an exhibition on mental health should look and feel. Rather than focusing on illness or treatment, it instead celebrates the kaleidoscopic spectrum of mental wellbeing,” the museum’s vice president, Honor Harger, said in a news release.

First exhibited in the University of Melbourne’s Science Gallery, the exhibit adds seven more installations by local and regional artists with artworks that are localized for the Southeast Asian context.

Organizers said the themes presented came from ongoing conversations with the younger generation struggling with mental health and were supported by experts who helped explore the topics more deeply. 

It encourages viewers to explore what it means to be human, to reflect on their own well-being and embrace the notion that every mental health journey is unique.

Reflective questions like “How are you?” and “Have you been kind to yourself?” are plastered in bold across the exhibition.

Its four themes – Connection, Exploration, Expression, and Reflection – are all meant to encourage visitors to question themselves and to empathize with others dealing with the same and different issues.

Viewers are greeted with Singaporean artist Divaagar’s multi-media installation in a kitchen where he uses Singapore’s obsession with food to show how it bonds us all at home. 

Wheel (2021) by Hiromi Tango and Dr Emma Burrows is a giant rainbow-shaped ‘hamster’ wheel that is trying to prove the point that exercise is vital for boosting one’s mental health. It tracks the number of kilometers visitors run in it via an odometer. Organizers are hoping Singapore will beat Melbourne’s previous record of 1800 kilometers.

Doing Nothing With A.I. (2019) by Emanuel Gollob is a robotic interactive installation that lets viewers sit on beanbags and do nothing but let their mind wander and stare at the structure made of thousands of painted toothpicks.

Mirror Ritual (2020) by Nina Rajcic and SensiLab uses artificial intelligence to evaluate one’s emotional state based on one’s facial expression and responds with a poetic text. 

Thoughtforms (2021) by Dr Kellyann Geurts and Dr Indae Huang lets you 3D-print your thoughts generated by brainwaves.

Kind Words (2021) by Ziba Scott is there for all to leave encouraging messages for others to take home.

Doing Nothing With A.I. (2019) by Emanuel Gollob. Photo: Adrian Lee/Coconuts

There are also works by local artists such as Alecia Neo, Lee Yi Xuan, Yangermeister and Yunora, and Eyeyah! whose Anxiety Animations (2022) feature 20 gif animations by young artists from around the world showing what anxiety meant to them. One features the hated Ten Year Series workbooks used by many Singapore students.

Other regional artists include Shwe Wutt Hmon from Myanmar and Tromarama from Indonesia.

Complementing the exhibition are programs including a panel discussion on mental health with the exhibition’s researchers, artists and curators, and a series of online and on-site programs like workshops, films, and masterclasses throughout next month. 

MENTAL: Colours of Wellbeing runs till Feb. 26 of next year. A standard adult ticket goes for S$21 and S$18 for Singapore residents.

Scenes From Therapy by Yangermeister and Yunora. Photo: Adrian Lee/Coconuts
Anxiety Animations (2022) by Eyeyah!. Photo: ArtScience Museum

Mirror Ritual (2020) by Nina Rajcic and SensiLab. Photo: Adrian Lee/Coconuts

Photo: Adrian Lee/Coconuts

Photo: Adrian Lee/Coconuts

ArtScience Museum
Open 10am to 7pm daily, last entry at 6pm
6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974

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