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Colourful works of the mind

"A loving relationship" (above) was the winner of Best Collaborative Artwork in the exhibition Colours of Mindset.


SHOPPERS at Marina Bay Link Mall and Tampines Hub were treated to a myriad of colours from July 16-20 and July 21 respectively.

Colours of Mindset is an art exhibition featuring 19 acrylic paintings by mental health persons-in-recovery (PIRs) and 12 art pieces created by PIRs and employees of the Jardine Matheson Group.

The exhibition was organised by Mindset Care Limited, a registered charity initiated by the Jardine Matheson Group.

One in eight Singaporeans are affected by some form of mental health illness and Mindset aims to raise awareness of this issue.

Alex Newbigging, Mindset's chairman and one of the judges, said: "Mindset is an active supporter of the mental health community. The paintings are a strong reminder that persons-in-recovery are capable of beautiful work. We hope that visitors will be able to understand more about mental health through the lens of these artists."

Local singer-songwriter Mavis Hee, who was also one of the judges, concurred and added: "It's not mainly about stigma or a mental illness, it's about extending that crucial understanding from ourselves to others. This way, we will have less judgment and more grace as a society."

The art jamming session also enabled Mindset to share the benefits of using art as a form of therapy to enhance mental wellness among Jardine employees.

Fellow judge Vera Chng, local artist at Studio Feyre, said: "As a teacher and student of art, I have always felt that art provided me with solace and peace during the toughest moments of my life."

Footfall for the exhibition reached a peak of 5,000 at Tampines Hub and Mindset awarded a total of S$4,000 cash prize to winners of Best Artist, Best Collaborative Artwork and Most Popular Artwork.

Tan Choong Heng, winner of both Best Artist and Best Collaborative Artwork, walked home with S$1,500.

Mr Tan said: "Art plays an important role in my recovery. It has helped me focus better and stabilise my mood, my visits to the psychiatrist have also reduced significantly."

He also expressed the hope that his participation in the exhibition will inspire more mental health PIRs to pursue activities such as painting to help them cope with their condition while learning to interact more with the public to spread the anti-stigma message.

Mindset believes that starting difficult conversations around mental health will reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.

Colours of Mindset was therefore held at public spaces with high traffic to facilitate more conversations on mental health with the public.

Moreover, the charity organisation believes that educating the public and clearing misconceptions on mental illnesses provides a safer environment for PIRs to better integrate back into society.

In fact, within the Jardine Group, job placements for 128 PIRs have been allocated.

However, while mental health has gained more visibility in recent years, it is still a sector that is under resourced and it can be supported further.

Hence, Mindset said that as a group, it has the ability to influence employees, families and friends and business partners to raise awareness of mental health; and provide necessary resources required by PIRs.

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