Street artist Neoh who by day works as an art therapist with the Outsider Gallery has chosen a corridor of one of London’s best known hospitals to exhibit his first solo show.
‘Vandal Therapy’ is the continuation of a body of work Neoh has been painting on the streets for many years now. A campaigner on mental health issues his abstract work evokes movement and jumps out at you with it’s bright colours and raw energy.
The choice of Moorfields Eye Hospital is in keeping with the artists support of those accessing healthcare. The Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Trust has long been a supporter of the visual arts and you can see this as you walk around the place, art takes pride of place on many of the walls.
It may seem an unusual place to exhibit but according to Moorfields the aim is to highlight the fact that many people who are visually impaired still appreciate and are able to be be active within the visual arts. It’s a combination that works, Neoh’s art is primarily around issues to do with mental health and is the output of his art therapy work. The fact that it now hangs on the walls of a hospital for people with sight problems means that the the art can be shared and experienced in a different context but yet still act as therapy for others.
The show itself was unique for another reason in that when it opened it was the first hospital to take part in the monthly first Thursday series of art shows which take over the hipster heart of Shoreditch and the East End every month. Hipster the eye hospital is not but fair play to them for being open to opening their doors for this sort of thing.
Vandal Therapy is an exploration of Neoh’s state of mind through a series of expressively painted and vibrant self portraits. According to Moorfields “the fact that Neoh’s work is both visually appealing, and at the same time deals with difficult topics like mental health: it adds another dimension to it when set in a space like Moorfields. Losing one’s sight can be devastating, both mentally and physically. But people rarely talk about the emotional impact of sight loss.”
Normally associated with his work on the street, Neoh is probably best known for his series of ballerinas which can be seen dotted around areas such as Hackney Wick as well as Shoreditch. Those too evoke movement but their faces are often distorted.
The show at the Moorfields is one of a number the Moorfields Art Committee plan to put on this year and it seems appropriate that this from Neoh is the first. According to Neoh, “I’m really excited that my first solo show will be at Moorfields. It’s rare that the output of therapy is exhibited, but I believe that the arts can significantly contribute to peoples’ wellbeing, mental health and recovery.”
Vandal Therapy can be found in the pharmacy/optometry corridor at Moorfields main hospital on City Road. Enter through the main entrance and follow the blue line around and look out for the show in the corridor.
Vandal Therapy by Neoh