Nissen Richards Studio has designed an exhibition launching in London - The Museum of Lost & Found Potential - and then touring internationally, focusing on mental health and suicide prevention. The exhibition reveals the stark and powerful picture of potential lost across the world to people, families, communities, businesses and society due to neglected mental health and suicide. It also shows the potential of everything that can be found when people receive the support they need.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the number of deaths by suicide at 800,000 across the world every year. That's one person losing their life every 40 seconds. Suicide rates in the United Kingdom jumped nearly 12% in 2018, the first rise in seven years. This World Mental Health Day, the WHO wants to show that suicide is preventable.
'The Museum,' a rallying cry to us all, has been created by Speak Your Mind - the nationally driven, globally united campaign that wants everyone, everywhere to have the mental health support they need - in partnership with HSBC. After its world premiere in London's Covent Garden, the museum will journey across the world as a traveling exhibition. "It's a museum that talks about the fact that because mental health support wasn't in people's lives, they lost the ability to achieve things they hoped to," explained Curator Andy Franzkowiak - who has previously worked on numerous exhibitions bringing together science and arts. "Also, it does bring in the fact that, through the right support, people have gone on and achieved things."
The museum shares 16 interactive portraits of people from across the world. Together, these poignant, personal stories demand that more be done to support mental health across all aspects of our lives. Through video, sound, and real and imagined artifacts, visitors will be transported to lost and found chapters in the lives of the people whose stories are told in the museum. People lost to suicide and their loved ones are also featured. There is a focus throughout on the importance of the world investing more in the research and evidence that can identify solutions that improve mental health.
"Nissen Richards Studio collaborated closely with Franzkowiak and Lead Artist Nestor Pestana to develop the designs and layout for the gallery", commented Tetsuro Nagata, Nissen Richards Studio Associate Architect. "The design of the curved tables, which hold the majority of the objects and stories, is a continuation of the visual language for the Speak Your Mind campaign. The tables transform and change in height to form benches and walls that lead the visitors through the museum but are always based on 1 of 4 standardised footprints. This modular design allows the Museum to be transported and rearranged in different locations around the world. Nissen Richards Studio also produced the graphic design for the museum, including interpretation panels, dichroic window dressing and a newspaper to be taken away by visitors."
The stories in the Museum of Lost & Found Potential range from a survivor of multiple suicide attempts who is now writing books and making films to support others to a Ghanaian woman who lost her job due to bipolar and psychosis, who is now receiving treatment and back working. The many everyday artifacts vary from the riding boot of an Australian teenager who died by suicide, to an installation depicting the story of a then 9-year-old Nepalese woman, just returned from human trafficking, finding stability through cooking. The mother of a young woman in the US who died by suicide aged 20, after years of suicidal ideation tendencies due to severe mental health issues, is supporting the Museum in memory of her daughter through the Korum for Kids Foundation established by her parents more than four decades ago. Speak Your Mind is dedicating the exhibition in her honor.
Visitors to the museum will be asked to 'Speak Your Mind' and add a message to the #SpeakYourMind #40seconds voice petition, being signed by people joining their voices together across the world to urge leaders to provide quality support in mental health so that everyone, everywhere can reach their full potential.
Photography: Gareth Gardner