Art & Healing

This is part of our special feature, Public Health in Europe.

Increased emphasis on the importance of mental health by public health professionals has resulted in a gradual “de-taboo” process of the associated challenges. The power of visual arts is not limited to relaxation and enjoyment—it also contributes towards healing and raising awareness about various issues, in this case, issues of mental health.

Joshua Miels is a contemporary portrait artist whose work sheds light on the vulnerability of individuals and their struggle to deceive the public about their real emotions. His paintings predominantly show a man who might look fierce at first sight, but after a thorough gaze, the viewer can detect their fragility and fear. Miels’ way of revealing men’s vulnerability is especially powerful in response to society’s deep-rooted expectations, demanding males to be reserved about their emotions.

Kim Noble is a British artist with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Her artworks are the production of thirteen personalities cohabitating in one physical body. Each alter ego has a different name and is of different age and gender. Kim—a birth name uniting all the coexisting personas—became interested in painting in 2004 after a short course of art therapy. Judy is one of her female identities, who has a distinctive style in terms of colors, and therefore, transmitted emotions. Judy’s paintings predominantly show a female character, usually with closed eyes. Yet, while eyes best reflect the human emotions, the colors and facial expressions still deliver a powerful message about fragility and a distorted self-image.

–Rusudan Zabakhidze for EuropeNow

Joshua Miels

“Olympia” 2018
“Rubin” 2017
“Eye Study 1” 2018
“Inner Thoughts” 2017
“Waiting” 2018

Joshua Miels is a contemporary portrait artist who looks to capture the vulnerability of people and the emotions that people try to hide from others. Spending countless hours adding layer upon layer of paint Joshua produces artworks that are not only striking, but deep and powerful. Painted predominantly with oil paint, each piece begins with a subject, but with a large amount of experimentation, each art piece takes on its own journey from start to finish. The pieces challenge viewers to draw upon their own emotions and personal experiences.

Kim Noble

Kim Noble is a mother, artist and author who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). DID is a creative way to cope with unbearable pain. The main personality splits into several parts each having an amnesic barrier between them. In and out of hospital from the age of 14, with no formal art training, Kim and her alters became interested in painting in 2004 after spending a short time with a support worker who was studying to become an art therapist. The resulting 13 artists each have their own distinctive style, colour and themes that they work with. Many are unaware they share a body with other artists. Combined, they have had over 60 exhibitions, nationally and internationally.

Behind the Dream
The Girl with the Brexit Tattoo
One Day

Kim Noble was the first Artist in Residence at Springfield University Hospital in Tooting, South West London. Her book All of Me was published by Piatkus in 2011. Noble has had many TV and radio appearances, including the Oprah Winfrey Show, This Morning Show, Anderson Cooper Show and BBC Radio1 with Victoria Derbyshire.

For more Anxiety Culture artwork in EuropeNow’s past features, visit Hands Tied.

Published on June 11, 2019.


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