Patients' artworks soothe troubled minds
Art is more than just dabbing paint on paper or a form of self-expression. It is also a method of rehabilitation used to heal psychiatric and mentally disabled patients in Castle Peak Hospital.
Posted on the wall of the art studio in the hospital's Intellectual Disability Activity Centre of Excellence is a collection of the patients' artworks. Their beautiful paintings have different themes, ranging from landscapes to cartoon characters.
As well as displaying them in the art studio, this year the hospital has started printing selected paintings on umbrellas, albums, plates and cups that are sold to the public.
The response has been overwhelming, with several hundred items sold at an exhibition in the Central Library at the end of last month.
'We want the public to understand and discover more about our patients' abilities and not to label or stigmatise them,' William Fan Tak-wing, senior medical and health officer of the hospital, said.
A variety of paintings have also been printed on 6,000 Octopus card covers, of which some will be distributed free at a carnival to be held by the Social Welfare Department on March 2 in Tuen Mun.
The cost of producing these items was covered by a HK$150,000 donation by the Queen Elizabeth Foundation for the Mentally Handicapped.
Dr Fan believes art provides a good platform for the patients to develop their creativity, and a means for the public to recognise their abilities.
The hospital's art studio opened in 2004.
Every day from 9am to 5pm, patients are free to go to the studio to draw. They can choose to do colouring or calligraphy. Patients can also attend Chinese ink painting and acrylic painting classes, which are taught once a week by volunteers.
'They will not be told what to draw. We want them to freely express themselves. They can make use of different colourings provided to draw whatever they like,' Dr Fan said. 'When you look at their artworks, you can also tell their mood through the colours and from the way they draw.'
Patients would be encouraged to share their drawings with others.
Eric, a 22-year-old mildly intellectually disabled patient, has become interested in drawing in recent years. Some of his artwork has been selected for display in an album.
'I feel very happy, especially when I see my own work displayed in the art exhibition or hear compliments from others,' he beamed.