Mental health issues hit home in The Artist’s Residency at the National Library Building

Mental health issues hit home in The Artist’s Residency at the National Library Building

The Artist’s Residency shines a creative light on mental wellbeing. It is on at the National Library Building until 14 Feb. (Video: The Artist’s Residency, filmed and produced by WillowCo)

What does positivity and hope look like if you are living with a mental disorder? The Artist’s Residency unlocks some artistic answers to that question.

Five artists with mental disorders and nine student artists co-created seven artworks over six months, ranging from photography and animation to music and dance.

The goal of this unusual art exhibition is to kickstart conversations among Singaporeans about what mental health looks like to them and encourage people to come forward with their own stories of hope and wellbeing. The project is now in its last month, so why not experience The Artist’s Residency for yourself? It is on at the National Library Building, set within a reconstructed HDB apartment, until mid-February.

Week 2 The Artist-s Residency art exhibition
The project hopes to open up discussions around mental health issues in Singapore. (Image: Mental Health Collective Sg)

Tapping into the power of art to combat stress-related conditions, depression and a variety of other mental health issues is promoted by a growing number of organisations and therapists in Singapore, and never has there been a more pressing need. The uncertainties and isolating social restrictions of the pandemic have worn us all down, and many people who were just about holding things together before the virus have been pushed to the edge.

An Ipsos survey in May 2020, in the first weeks of the strict ‘Circuit Breaker’ lockdown, indicated that about a quarter of Singaporeans and PRs worried their mental health was not what it should be. Nearly 20 months on, with social and travel restrictions still largely in place, it is highly likely the situation has deteriorated.

The importance of art in this context is distilled by The Artist’s Residency, given that the work is made by aspiring and full-time artists. It is a collaboration with REACH and a ground-up youth initiative called Mental Health Collective SG (MHC).

“I hope to tell people that mental health conditions are not dead ends,” comments Faith Wong, one of the artists. “In understanding the various aspects of the conditions, we can truly get rid of the lenses of fear and ignorance, and thus help others and also ourselves in maintaining mental wellness through early intervention.”

Within the exhibition is a wall curated by REACH, which gives visitors an insight into how young adults perceive mental wellbeing, using inputs gathered over a year of youth engagement activities.

Titus Yim, MHC co-founder and project leader for The Artist’s Residency, is keen to change the way Singaporeans approach the whole subject of mental health. “It is our hope that, through this exhibition, Singaporeans can learn about mental health conditions not as symptoms or medical diagnoses but as the unique struggles and experiences of individuals who are already doing their best.”

Find out more about The Artist’s Residency here or get a sneak peek here.

We can’t wait to share more awesome content with you. This is going to be so much fun.

Give us a heads up on the topics that interest you: