McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

New Exhibition Highlights Resilience and Understanding Health through Art

Published: January 14, 2016
Visitors view works of art at the McMaster Museum of Art

Resilience is the focus of a new exhibition of contemporary art at the McMaster Museum of Art, developed in partnership with McMaster Professor Christine Wekerle as a direct result of her research into maltreatment.

In 2011 Wekerle, from the Department of Pediatrics, was asked to develop a course in child maltreatment and mandatory reporting for the health professional trainee. She approached the Museum, where the first session of the visual literacy program The Art of Seeing ™ with family medicine residents had just been completed, with an idea for another course, this time for students.

"Maltreatment can be subtle, ambiguous, confusing and distressing," said Wekerle. "Having a systematic way of looking and practicing on less threatening imagery (art) before maltreatment visuals, seemed a good fit for learner needs."

The first part of the exhibition is a didactic exhibit, taking the visitor through visual literacy skills training. It includes works of art from McMaster's collection, alongside texts from members of the Health Sciences community reflecting on the work as it relates to clinical practice. Picturing Wellness I was organized by Wekerle with McMaster Museum of Art Education Coordinator Nicole Knibb.

Also included in Picturing Wellness Part I is a poem and video by Craig Kung, a McMaster medical student who completed Dr. Wekerle's course. Kung was a finalist in the 2015 MSU Mental Health and Wellness Awareness Week video contest.

Picturing Wellness Part II, curated by the Museum's chief curator Carol Podedworny presents art by five contemporary Canadian artists that ponder, in broad scope, issues related to trauma, the body, memory, history, medicine, health and the museum. What is consistent, throughout all of the works, is a consciousness of an impact on the individual and on the role that art can play in interpretation, processing or healing.

In viewing the exhibitions visitors may take the tools they learn in Part I and apply them to their thinking and interpretation of the works in Part II.

PICTURING WELLNESS is on view now through March 26, 2016 at the McMaster Museum of Art

In conjunction with this exhibition, there will be a Picturing Wellness Conference for Health Care and Service Providers March 3 – 5 at the Hamilton Convention Centre.

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