Nathalie Bondil was the first woman to be appointed director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. She has just been appointed director of the museum and exhibitions of the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA). For her, the cultural experience contributes to our health, just as the practice of sports contributes to our physical fitness. Nathalie Bondil coined the term "therapeutic museum" and introduced the first medical prescriptions for museums.
In this podcast, she shares with us her humanist vision of the arts, which she defines as "this sensitive knowledge of the world that makes us fully human" and her vision of the crucial role of museums: "when you go to a museum, you offer available and very precious brain time. To be able to turn off the screens, to disconnect in order to reconnect to another chosen one. To let go of the little music that we carry within us, which makes us go from one thought to another."
With Nathalie Bondil, The Caring Gallery proposes a passionate exchange on the arts, formidable triggers of our emotional intelligence, intelligence of the sensitive which helps us to decipher the world. Through the arts, we can travel and become "citizens of the world. "
Nathalie Bondil is on The Caring Podcast, hosted by Marine Birot and Marine Ulrich from Artistik Bazaar. To discover also via our written synthesis.
Nathalie Bondil is French-Canadian, born in Barcelona. Trained as a curator, she studied at the École du Louvre, then at the École nationale du patrimoine in Paris before moving to Canada. She was the first woman to be appointed director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. For her, the cultural experience contributes to our health, just as the practice of sports contributes to our physical fitness. Nathalie Bondil is responsible for the term "therapeutic museum" and "museum medical prescription". She has just been appointed director of the museum and exhibitions of the Institut du Monde Arabe.
The diversity of the Arab world
Very soon, Nathalie Bondil will implement projects as the new director of the museum and exhibitions of the Institut du Monde Arabe. The museum's collection is spectacular thanks to various donations, such as the modern and contemporary art of Claude Lemand. The museum will be redesigned: today, its course is more anthropological, historical and ethnological. For the new director, the challenge is to show everyone the richness of the Arab world.
"There is in fact a lack of knowledge of the diversity of the Arab world. Often, we have a very monolithic approach to the Arab world, whereas it is incredibly diverse, whether in the past or in the present. A scene FULL OF LIFE with creativity and a language of modernity, which is less known, will be able to be shown and exhibited in this future museum. "
"This sensitive knowledge of the world makes us fully human."
For Nathalie Bondil, art and culture are necessary for everyone and it seems even more necessary to open up young people to it by awakening their curiosity, by encouraging them to travel:
"[Art] is both a way to discover aesthetic worlds and extraordinarily diverse imaginations. Through the arts, we touch on politics, history, geography, ethnology. "
Art awakens the emotional intelligence, the intelligence of the sensitive which leads to the knowledge of the world. The cultural experience is not limited to books, which are not sufficient for learning: music, visual arts, dance, cinema, the contemplation of nature, which is something that can be learned as a child, are just as important. Traveling is also a way to nourish and grow. The idea is not to go to the other side of the world, but to travel through the arts, through all the arts:
"Travel is about decentering ourselves, leaving our navel view: being citizens of the world. "
To experience art and the museum is a time of its own, it is an immobile journey, within oneself and around the world. It is a different experience of the world compared to what the public can live every day:
"When you go to a museum, you are offering available and very precious brain time. To be able to turn off the screens, to disconnect, to reconnect to something else. To let go of the little music we carry inside us, which makes us go from one thought to another. "
ART IS THERAPEUTIC
Many doctors use art to help traumatized children bring out their emotions. Art allows the conceptualization of emotion, through drawings, songs, etc., thus providing keys to well-being with oneself and with others. These physical-chemical phenomena allow us to understand ourselves and to communicate with others.
"It is fundamental to find the way to understand what motivates us ("animates" in French). The verb ‘‘animate’’, comes from ''anima'', it's the soul. It's really what inspires us, listening and taking the time to change. It's never wrong. It's simply moving forward like a child learning to walk. "
Art is about marveling every day in your daily life. This concept is quite common among professionals who work in the arts or among artists. But it's not something concrete or a key used by everyone. That's why it's important to be interested in audiences, all types of audiences, to reach out to those who have the least access to art, culture, and keys.
"We can tell them that the pleasure we can have in sharing a good meal, to admire a well-composed plate, is the same pleasure they can find in going to a museum. Because for me, cooking is also an aesthetic art. ".
ART ON PRESCRIPTION
When Nathalie Bondil was director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, she introduced a prescription, written by a doctor, to visit the museum. Since it was possible to give prescriptions for physical exercise, for sports, especially to maintain oneself or in case of convalescence, it seemed natural and important to Nathalie Bondil to also be able to go to museums on prescription. She then set up numerous projects with groups of people who were suffering from different health problems, such as depression or anorexia.
This project was made possible by the director of the education department, Thomas Bastien, and the Association francophone des médecins du Canada. The initiative was supported by the Ministry of Health of the Province of Quebec de France.
Of course, a visit to a museum cannot substitute for medication, or hard medicine. But art comes as a complement to that. Art allows doctors to bring comfort, to bring advice. It becomes a tool for both the doctor and the patient. Art therapies, such as music therapy, are truly a supportive care in addition to the medical approach.
This is why Nathalie insists on the importance of surrounding herself with health professionals, associations, and numerous partners who have knowledge of these subjects, and who will allow us to work in a spirit of co-creation. This diversity of views, this collaborative work, allows us to answer questions such as "how to create a link with the public? "It is necessary to surround oneself with health specialists, with good speakers in order to be able to mediate to audiences with particular problems, for example to people with autistic disorders. In these cases, we must avoid certain types of artworks, too aggressive atmospheres.
"Art therapies, such as music therapy, can be a care that supports the whole medical approach."
© Photo : Max Abadian