Valletta 2018 Meeting Points and Artist in Residence Programme Coordinator Ann Laenen tells us about a recent addition to Valletta 2018’s Cultural Programme, Deep Shelter Project. Read more about this project here…
Benna: I am seeing Deep Shelter Project (DSP) more in terms of a journey. If we are going to allow the works to inform us, we are taking Deep Shelter beyond, to use art and music as ‘containing and holding’ throughout the cancer journey. The work isn’t something you see once; say before a medical procedure to calm down…I don’t know if it started out that way?
Pam: It started out as a need, maybe more of a personal need. I asked myself, what visuals would soothe me, what visuals would ‘fill’?
Benna: Do you realise that what you have produced is not only soothing, not only filling? The breadth and the depth is much, much greater and this is why we are developing it into something which is not just a container but is…part of this evolution, this journey.
This is part of a conversation between the two protagonists of the research being carried out for Deep Shelter Project (DSP), artist Pamela Baldacchino and Dr. Benna Chase …. what started as an interdisciplinary art and research project, developed into a qualitative study that analysed the use of audio-visual work within the Psychological Support Services at Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre (SAMOC). The first outcomes offered valuable imput for the introduction of art and design works in the therapy rooms, waiting area and corridors of the clinical support services, as well as, the prayer room in the palliative area.
By immersing the viewer or patient in visuals rich in symbolic language, the work connects them to stories based on simple metaphorical interpretations of illness such as natural world cycles and ideas of journeying. The visual and auditory content aim to sustain the therapeutic dialogue between the healthcare professional and the patient by encouraging meaning formation.
Bringing art within the centre happens at different levels, through artist donations and a further collaboration with MUŻA, Malta’s new national community art museum in 2018, and other partners.
Here the project enters a new stage which Valletta 2018 is proud to support over the next years, helping Pamela Baldacchino in close collaboration with the oncology centre, to set up a series of artist workshops that aim to create site specifc artwork together with a series of sensory workshops for cancer survivors. There is also the possibility of an artist in residence programme being integrated. The main goals would be to create artwork based on DSP research outcomes and interaction with those involved, namely, Dr. Benna Chase, the Oncology staff and other contributing artists.
The first artist workshops invloving Aaron Bezzina, Matthew Attard, Sara Pace and Pamela Baldacchino herself, will take place at SAMOC over the Summer. Parrallel to this, the series of sensory workshop will also start, the multi-faithroom will take shape and the first works donated by Anna Grima, Damain Ebejjer, Javier Formosa, JP Migneco, Sara Pace, Matt Schembri and the artist herself will be placed in the therapy rooms.
Updates will be posted on the deep shelter blog http://www.deepshelter.com