Gallery Wellness Festival
This year’s theme is “Art Connects” with a focus on human connections and the importance of connecting deeply with our emotions and people around us.
The Gallery Wellness Festival 2023, presented by the National Gallery Singapore, returns for its second edition with an expanded line-up of more than 20 unique wellness experiences from June 17 to July 9, 2023. The Gallery Wellness Festival 2023 is part of Wellness Festival Singapore 2023, a three-week islandwide event.
This year’s festival is themed “Art Connects” with a focus on human connections and the importance of connecting deeply with our emotions and people around us through guided workshops, immersive sensorial encounters, and vibrant creative spaces which aim to engage the five senses and nurture holistic well-being.
Some of the programme highlights include:
- Mindful art walk, a self-guided walk that provides participants the opportunity to engage their senses – Designed by artist and art therapist Lee Sze-Chin, the walk aims to engage participants’ senses with various activity prompts throughout the route. Participants are also invited to discover new relationships between people and places through the artworks and the journey through various landscapes.
- Scents-ing: Aroma Workshop for Two – Join facilitator Prachi Saini Garg, founder of Scentopia Singapore on a wellness journey. Participants can sign up and create their own unique scent based on selected artworks from the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery. This workshop aims to encourage a mindful and intentional appreciation for the art through scents.
- Music jamming – Explore different instruments and musical qualities to express various emotions with prompts designed by Dr Tan Xueli, president of Association for Music Therapy Singapore. Music jamming is one of the festival’s daily free art and wellness activities at “Offline @ The Spine Hall” (The Spine Hall, City Hall Wing, Level B1), where visitors can relax and connect with others in a cosy setting.
- Art therapy – Join art therapist Yoko Choi in this art therapy experiential workshop where she uses artworks as conversation starters and guides participants to further explore their feelings through artmaking.
- Wellness menus curated in collaboration with the Gallery Wellness Festival 2023 – Visitors can embrace wellness through culinary experiences at two of the participating restaurants located at the Gallery. GEMMA will be serving up an exclusive three-course vegan Italian lunch menu, and Yàn has assembled a six-course wellness lunch set menu featuring exquisite Cantonese fare, with dishes designed to replenish the body.
The festival also seeks to reach out to audiences of different age groups and diverse needs through programmes such as the “Hush Silent TeaBar” led by trained deaf TeaRistas from HUSH TeaBar, where visitors can indulge in a time of self-care and social inclusion; and “Silver Vloggers” recommended for participants 60 and above to learn how to create basic TikTok videos inspired by a short tour at the Gallery.
The Calm Room
As part of the Gallery’s ongoing efforts to create inclusive and accessible spaces for both art appreciation and well-being, the Calm Room is a dedicated space where visitors can rest if they are feeling over-stimulated by their environment. Specially designed to be a soothing and sensory-friendly environment, visitors can take the time to calm down, regulate their stress responses, and have renewed focus. In line with the Gallery’s commitment in providing more accessible spaces, the Calm Room is also wheelchair-accessible and features an ambient soundscape, private seating pods and sensory kits.
The Calm Room features its first creative residency artist Jevon Chandra, with his artwork “Picturing a Candle”, which is inspired by aphantasia, a condition that the artist has, where individuals experience a lack of mental imagery and have a reduced capacity to access other mental senses such as sight, touch, taste.
The Calm Room Creative Residency is a two-year residency programme that invites a Singapore-based artist to meaningfully activate the Calm Room space and connect with relevant underserved communities. As a multimodal programme that combines community research, physical installations and public programmes, the residency aims to build capacity for artists to work and co-create with underserved (particularly neurodivergent) communities, while also establishing connections between the Calm Room and the Gallery’s curatorial focus in modern Southeast Asian art.
Artist Jevon Chandra will be holding a Calm Room Creative Residency workshop during the Gallery Wellness Festival which will draw reference from art therapy and counselling practices, considering the efficacy and limitations of “visioning” exercises commonly practised in and inspired by said practices.
Launch of the “Relak Buddy”
The Festival also sees the launch of its first-ever “Relak Buddy”, a personal stress reliever created as a wellness ambassador to remind visitors to spend time for self-care. Using the Gallery’s logo as reference, the Relax Buddy is intentionally designed with uneven eyes and limbs to celebrate the uniqueness in everyone. The Relak Buddy loves hugs, going to places, and seeks to be a friendly companion. The Relak Buddy Wellness care kit is available for purchase online at S$15.
Ticketing and registration are required for select programmes. For more information, visit www.nationalgallery.sg/gwf2023.
(** PHOTO CREDIT: National Gallery Singapore)