I conducted a series of art-making workshop to students at the University of Toronto. The completed works of art were curated on the 4th floor showcase of Art & Mindfulness, a year long art exhibition that will explore the relationship between art, student experiences and positive mental health. The exhibition explores how art is used as a tool for wellness, mindfulness and resilience by current or former university and college students.
This exhibition is on display in the Claude T. Bissell Building at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, April 2018 - March 2019.
Curatorial Essay written by Kanika Gupta
Art & Mindfulness explores the relationship between art, student experiences and mental health.
Auxiliary programming to this exhibit invited students to examine and re-imagine the parts that make us whole, through participating in an immersive activity that embodied a mindful approach to art-making, emphasizing process over aesthetics.
Participants were presented with pieces of what was once a styrofoam bowl. Through a creative and insightful method that encouraged contemplation and self-reflection, participants mended the pieces back together. By highlighting the cracks that join the parts, some shone a light on the fragments that exist within us, and that make up who we are. Others challenged the assumptions that we were all once whole to begin with, giving instead a real glimpse of what one’s real self amidst the brokenness. Small bits of styrofoam were intentionally left behind, not included in the final piece. Others added found materials, giving meaning to the additions not originally there.
If not explicitly within the works themselves, mindfulness was practiced while creating the works through the act of losing track of space and time and reconnecting with the joy of colouring with markers in an uninhibited fashion. The difficulty in putting the pieces back as they once were demonstrates that when circumstances beyond our control impact our lives, it is up to us to rethink ourselves and be mindful to where we are in this moment in time. To bring awareness to the assumptions we make and to the stories we are socialized to live up to. To choose instead to give meaning to parts that make-up our whole selves.