Hong Kong’s M+ museum offers free tickets to students for mental health benefits

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Hong Kong’s M+ museum is offering 10,000 free tickets to students for its Yayoi Kusama exhibition to help boost mental health.

The scheme is aiming to help students talk about their mental health by viewing the works of artist Yayoi Kusama, who has expressed her own challenges through art.

Keri Ryan, lead curator for learning and interpretation at M+, told the South China Morning Post: “Particularly in the post-pandemic moments where people are looking for connection, something tangible, there is something to be said for the process of going to a museum. 

“An art museum does it well. It gives you the opportunity to slow down. I believe in the idea of slow looking, spending a long time looking at something.”

The museum has also partnered with ‘Shall We Talk’, an initiative from the government’s advisory committee on mental health, to launch ‘Shall We Talk at M+’. 

The programme will give away 10,000 admission tickets to the ‘Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now’ exhibit to students from local tertiary institutions, including universities and higher education establishments. 

Ryan added: “We are not therapists, we can’t necessarily help anyone in that sense, but we can help you to connect your own emotional expression to what you are experiencing.

“We can help people feel more comfortable expressing themselves through making art or walking through the exhibition.”

There will also be art workshops that have been created in partnership with Hong Kong University’s Centre on Behavioural Health, and will encourage students to create art themselves using Kusama as an inspiration. 

Throughout her life, Kusama has communicated her mental health challenges through her art.