Art is good for your Health

“There is increasing recognition that people’s health and wellbeing is
influenced by a range of interconnecting factors. Indeed, the World
Health Organization suggested over 50 years ago that health is a
complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely an
absence of disease or infirmity. This definition acknowledges that
good health and wellbeing are reliant on an array of multiple factors,
not just physical, but also psychological and social. Arts Council
England, the Department of Health and many leading healthcare
experts firmly believe that the arts have an important part to play in
improving the health and wellbeing of people in many ways”.

The Arts, Health and Wellbeing – The Arts Council

As a Public Health Practitioner, I am instinctively drawn to evidence based interventions which focus on alternative and holistic practises in the support of good health.  The appreciation of art as part of a healthy lifestyle is growing in its evidence base proving that by supplementing medicine and care, the arts can improve the health of people who experience mental or physical health problems – but how can Art help me?

From one day to the next I can be anywhere on the mental health spectrum , experiencing a small amount of healthy stress to wanting to all out ring the necks of my colleagues/child/other drivers/mother/brothers *delete all that do not apply.  What consideration is given to those of us that simply need to wind down after ‘one of those days’?!!! A full investigation was required.

On Friday 22 August 2014 I was invited to attend the Radical Geometry Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts.  I am, by no stretch of the imagination an art expert however the exhibitions focus on the Modern Arts of South America struck a particular cord as my Grandfather is of Panamanian descent.

The collection is described as boundary breaking, spanning a dynamic period in South American art and charting the emergence of several distinct artistic movements in the cities of Montevideo (Uruguay), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Caracas (Venezuela), from the 1930’s to the 1970’s. Impressive!!!

I had arranged to meet a friend for dinner preceding the exhibition; set to be a wonderful evening.  To my horror  London underground decided to strike that morning, suspending both the Central and the Waterloo and City Lines, this put a real scupper on our plans leaving me to figure out how I was going to get into Central London.  Regrettably we were unable to keep to our dinner plans, my friend went home and my stress levels were on the increase. Thoughts….this exhibition better be good!!

This was my first visit to the Royal Academy and my initial reaction was to survey my surroundings.  The Academy is housed within Burlington House , a building set back from Piccadilly in London. It was originally a private Palladian mansion, and was expanded in the mid-19th century after being purchased by the British government.  Passing through the gateway from Piccadilly into the Burlington House courtyard, I was met with 350 years of architectural history along with Latin flavours and rhythms in the form of an amazing live band, salsa lessons, alfresco dining; tables adorned with tropical fruit and offers of waistline busting nachos!!! The activity, atmosphere and energy present in the courtyard offered a welcomed lift and I hadn’t even seen the exhibition yet!

On entering The RA I was greeted and directed to the #bloggers lounge where we were handed an ample Mojito and my guide to the Radical Geometry exhibition #ILoveBlogging.  Stress levels = levelling out.


I shimmied over to  one of the plush leather sofas that beckoned (yes I did shimmy, it is far from a dramatic rhetoric) and made myself comfortable.  While waiting I engaged in a number of conversations.  @PalettePages an amazing art blogger, @LathiHasina, a self proclaimed optimist and Soraan Latif, Director at Seven Shades of Black, a free online arts & music magazine exposing young and up and coming artists across the artistic sphere.  Our conversation was truly captivating with subject matter ranging from ‘expression through fashion’ to ‘following your dreams, no matter what’.  The mojito, the conversation and the ambiance combined were succeeding in washing away and angst.  Stress levels = little to none

Abstract Art to me provokes revolution, edge of seat, in your face sculptures and early 20s political banners and images. With this collection I had the opportunity to view amazing images and the vibrant colours of vertical stripes which moved with the light, to Joaquin Torres Garcia- contraction in black and white which reminded me of the old school Tetris games but also provoked the idea of living in confinement (erm, possibly not the best enactment given my reasons for being there!) Juan Mele Irregular frame with bright bold colours reminding me of a rainbow of kaleidoscopes chopping and changing as you circle it.

The collection of art work was refreshing to the eyes and whether you are a critic or just a lover of different art works I would highly recommend seeing it as it will trigger all senses and show modern art at its glorious best, for those of us that simply need to wind down and de-stress it is good for that too.

I felt positively revived and sublimely de-stressed by both the collection and the company the collection attracted.  All in all a welcomed addition in my quest to find equilibrium and perspective in a world of chaos.

If you would like to see this exhibition in all its glory it can be viewed until 28 September 2014, so you had better get a move on!!

Love and Light

The Baking BodyBuilder

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