Cultures Combine At New Forth Valley Royal Hospital Exhibition

A cultural collaboration between Scotland and China has produced a stunning international exhibition which is being showcased at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

‘Flyway’ is a programme using arts to promote mental health and wellbeing, and features work by artists from both countries together with organisations working in the field of mental health. Funded by the British Council, the pieces explore topics such as experience of living with mental health conditions, the interconnections between people and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health. It focuses on the beneficial role of art and creativity in promoting recovery and its overall impact on wellbeing.

The programme is organised jointly by Chinese health and wellbeing charity A Perch for the Thorn Birds* and Artlink Central. Submissions were open to professional and amateur artists, and work was encouraged from people who had experience of mental health issues.

Artlink Central’s Silvia Sinibaldi, Visual Arts Curator for NHS Forth Valley, said: “We are very proud to have been able to bring ‘Flyway’ to Forth Valley Royal Hospital. This is such an important programme, and now more than ever mental health needs to be brought to the forefront, creating the necessary spaces for conversation and connection.

“Working in collaboration with a like-minded charity A Perch for The Thorn Birds in China has been an amazing experience and an opportunity for further learning and growth. It is exciting to be able to showcase the work of such a diverse range of talented international artists collectively in a meaningful and relevant space such as Forth Valley Royal Hospital.”

Bowen Wu, from A Perch for the Thorn Birds, said: “As a fledgling mental health and art organisation of social workers, we’re thrilled to collaborate with experienced art charity Artlink Central on Flyway. Flyway is such a valuable project to us for it is the first China-Scotland mental health and art exhibition, as well as a significant endeavour to explore international communication in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Utilising arts and creativity, Flyway has transcended language and social-cultural differences and created a platform to initiate conversations about mental health.”

In parallel with the exhibition at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which runs until the end of September 2021, a similar event is being staged in Shanghai (Wisdom Bay) China. The programme also includes an online version with a series of talks and activities.

In addition, there will be a showcase of some of the audio-visual pieces, not currently included in the online or physical exhibition, during an outdoors projection at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in September 2021. Plans for this will be shared on Artlink Central’s social media channels.

A Perch for the Thorn Birds is a non-profit mental health organisation based in China whose mission is to empower, engage and promote expression and inclusion using transdisciplinary approaches to address mental health related issues.