M+ Museum Launches Mental Health Initiative with Yayoi Kusama Exhibition

KEY TAKEAWAYS
The M+ museum in Hong Kong has launched a mental health initiative called "Shall We Talk at M+" in partnership with the government's mental health outreach initiative "Shall We Talk."
As part of the initiative, the museum is offering 10,000 free tickets to local students for its Yayoi Kusama exhibition, titled "Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now," to help students express their mental health issues through art.
Kusama's art, which often communicates her own mental health struggles, is believed to have healing powers and can help individuals connect their emotional expression to their experiences through art.
The exhibition, the largest of Kusama's work on view in Asia outside Japan, features over 200 works arranged chronologically, beginning with her teenage drawings during World War II and culminating in her immersive "Infinity Rooms."
The M+ museum hopes that the program, in conjunction with the Kusama exhibition, will promote mental health education and reduce stigma around the topic. Access to the arts has been shown to support mental well-being, and the museum's mission is to curate diverse and engaging public programs to promote health and well-being.

 

Free Tickets and Workshops for Hong Kong Students

The M+ museum in Hong Kong is offering 10,000 free tickets to local students for its Yayoi Kusama exhibition, titled “Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now,” as part of a mental health initiative called “Shall We Talk at M+.”

The program, launched in partnership with the government’s mental health outreach initiative “Shall We Talk,” aims to help students express their mental health issues through art.

The Healing Power of Art

As the city’s strict social distancing regulations have lifted, the M+ museum and “Shall We Talk” collaboration seeks to help residents revive connections and find solace in Kusama’s creations. 

Kusama, who has faced her own mental health challenges throughout her life, communicates her struggles through her artwork, often creating intricate and overwhelming abstractions that resonate with viewers.

M+ head curator for learning and interpretation, Keri Ryan, emphasizes that the museum is not a therapy center but can help individuals connect their emotional expression to their experiences through art.

The “Shall We Talk at M+” program includes guided tours of the Kusama exhibition and a series of workshops where participants can create their own artworks in response to the displays.

The M+ museum in Hong Kong is offering 10,000 free tickets to local students for its Yayoi Kusama exhibition, titled “Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now,” as part of a mental health initiative called “Shall We Talk at M+.”

A Journey Through Kusama’s Life and Art

The exhibition, the largest of Kusama’s work on view in Asia outside Japan, features over 200 works, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations. It is arranged chronologically, beginning with her teenage drawings during World War II and culminating in her immersive “Infinity Rooms.”

During the guided tours and workshops, special attention will be given to Kusama’s self-portraits, which she started creating around 70 years ago.

Students will be encouraged to consider how their self-image evolves over time, with the process of creating art as the focus, rather than discussing feelings directly.

The Impact of Art on Mental Well-Being

Research from the UK and Canada demonstrates that access to the arts supports mental well-being, impacting heart rate, the nervous system, and opening up new learning pathways.

The M+ museum hopes that the “Shall We Talk at M+” program, in conjunction with the Kusama exhibition, will promote mental health education and reduce stigma around the topic.

M+ museum director Suhanya Raffel highlights the importance of community in the museum’s mission, curating diverse and engaging public programs to promote health and well-being.

The free tickets for the Kusama exhibition will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for redemption from March 18 until May 14, 2023.

Craig Miller

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