In an unprecedented group show, more than thirty artists have been brought together via the Bethlem Gallery based at The Bethlem Royal Hospital (the word 'Bedlam' derives from the hospital name).
The sculpture, painting, photography and multi-media works on show confront the cliches and myths surrounding the perception of art and mental health. Viewers are challenged to experience, question, and react in a way unparalleled by the conventional art world.
Mental distress affects one in seven of the population of Great Britain. The artists have all experienced mental distress in their lives and use art to communicate their stories, to cultivate, to mend and to survive.
The show marks the 10th anniversary of The Bethlem Gallery, the 40th anniversary of the Museum and Archives and the 760th anniversary of Bethlem Royal Hospital.
The Bethlem Gallery was established ten years ago to showcase and champion marginalised artists, and has earned an international reputation for the originality and talent of its exhibitors. The Archives and Museum, also within the hospital grounds, specialises in art about mental illness and by those who have suffered from it. It actively collects work to promote the de-stigmatisation of mental illness.
The exhibition also aims to raise awareness of the role of arts in mental health services. The Bethlem Gallery provides essential support and encouragement to help artists who would otherwise feel excluded from the art world, as well as running daily workshops for patients to explore creativity and develop skills. Those who facilitate the studios are witness to the power of art and its role in aiding recovery and sustaining well being. The link between art and well being is only now being explored in the broader world of mental health services highlighting the need for more research and funding to develop the arts as part of a more holistic approach to patient care.
Artworks in this show will be for sale.