Overlook Medical Center and the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey recently unveiled Mindfulness in Medicine, an exhibition blending visual art and poetry within the hospital.
The exhibition, located outside of Overlook’s Bouras Auditorium, includes haiku poetry created by patients, caregivers, and Overlook team members and paintings by artists Diana Hsu Kung and Matthew Langley.
The exhibition was opened with a kickoff event on September 20, which included readings of some of the haikus as well as a mindfulness presentation and guided meditation led by Archimedes Bibiano, Founder of Inner Alliance Education and Professor at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.
“Overlook is truly honored to be bestowed with these deeply insightful works of art,” said Stephanie Schwartz, president of Overlook Medical Center. “Each haiku offers an incredible window into the experiences that our patients, families, and clinicians have along their respective healing journeys, complemented by the reflective visual pieces from members of our community.”
The haiku pieces, featured on wall-mounted placards, are reflections on health care experiences by the creators.
“He is a villain; Cancer declares war again; Hence I will fight him,” reads one of the haikus, by community member Barbara Glass.
The accompanying artwork seeks to add a visual component to the poems. Diana Hsu Kung’s work echoes the wonder of nature and the emotions found in the poems. The circular nature of Matthew Langley’s paintings allows the viewer meditative reflection. This art-in-health program seeks to help individuals develop and strengthen mindfulness and other healing arts and cultural practices and expressions.
“We really believe in the healing power of the arts,” said Melanie Franklin Cohn, executive director of the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. “I think it’s especially meaningful for us to be able to bring these works of art here for hospital team members, patients, and caregivers to reflect upon as they travel through the hospital.”
The exhibition was curated by Cohn, Overlook Medical Center’s Poet-in-Residence Thomas Dooley, and Teaching Artist Susan Natacha González.
“Our authors in this collection have remarked that writing haiku has helped slow them down, invited them to pay attention to the world around them, and fostered a sense of mindful contemplation,” said Dooley.