Passing Time | Curated by Emma Nguyen

In 2022 we invited four early career curators to work with the Art in Healthcare Collection and team.  Our aim was to provide early career opportunities post-pandemic and to gain fresh perspectives on the collection and how it could be curated to meet the needs of health, social care and community settings. The programme was supported by Museum Galleries Scotland.

Emma Nguyen:

This collection was inspired by my own journey and interactions with art and mental health.  

My initial interest was in curating a collection for permanent residents in Mental Health facilities. I have a keen interest in Art Psychotherapy and have extensively researched the positive effects of artwork on Mental Health. This interest is informed by my own experiences of creating and my positive mental health journey as a result of practicing these processes.  
I hope to impart some of my own learning and positive experiences on patients in permanent Mental Health facilities.  

A thread of thought that runs through my own practice and previous curated exhibitions is of celebrating The Here and The Now.  

During chaotic days I find myself longing for comfort, for a need to pause and take a moment to step outside of any current stresses and breathe deeply. Sometimes we only need that single moment of contemplation to come back to ourselves, and to feel our stresses (even temporarily) melting away.  

The collection I’ve curated for Art in Healthcare echo’s themes of presence and calmness, which are essential in this process of contemplation. With the absence of calming external influences, it becomes much more difficult to rediscover the calm within ourselves, and stress can begin to overtake us. I hope that the Passing Time collection can convey such a necessary tranquillity to Healthcare staff, patients and families.  
During my initial investigation of Art in Healthcare’s collected works, I came across a painting by Elsepth Lamb (Green Tea and Fuji-San, 1979). There is a beyond-ness that Lamb creates in the way she frames the Mountain of Fuji-San from behind a window. I look first at a 2 Dimensional painting, then I feel as if I step into the room in order to gaze out of the window at the landscape beyond.  

This sense of looking beyond is the foundation of my collection. I have sought out paintings from Art in Healthcare’s existing artworks that all recall similar feelings of being drawn into the landscape. I have spent time with each painting exploring how I feel drawn into each scene, and reflected these curiosities in the (optional) blurbs for each painting.  

I hope that these paintings, along with my starting points of imagination, can kindle intrigue for Healthcare patients. As they, too, imagine themselves stepping through the frames to explore the lives inside the paintings.  

The text accompanying each artwork is a personal prompt in response to the painting. I hope my own thoughts can inspire an audience to ponder.  

8 February 2024 by

Amy Miles