Hungarian National Gallery July 2011

The last part of mine and Mr F’s honeymoon was spent in Budapest. It is such beautiful city as you can see from this shot of Parliament (in Pest) taken from Buda. Did you know Budapest is made up of two main towns – Buda and Pest (I was so excited to learn that). Anyway, whist we were there we visited the Hungarian National Gallery (http://www.mng.hu/en) as we knew from our guide book that the gallery had a stunning permanent collection of Hungarian art from the last few centuries. However what I wasn’t expecting to see was a collection of art created by people diagnosed with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

For me the most exciting part of this exhibition was that these pieces of art were accompanied by qualitative quotes (below) about these individuals’ experiences of the world and every day interactions with people. What a wonderful insight into their lives these individuals had offered the visitors to this gallery. This exhibition was as revealing as artists’ self portraits.

I often work with qualitative methodologies in my reserach in fact I don’t think I could ever consider doing a piece of research that didn’t have a qualitative element. For me this exhibition demonstrates just how effective and essential these methods are. The richness of data, the depth of understanding of experiences in an individual’s own words and in this case, drawings.

I often hear from other researchers (including some psychologists) that qualitative work is airy fairy. When I read these quotes below the words that spring to my mind aren’t airy fairy or touchy feely. I will let you make up your own minds! 

Above and below are a couple of photos of paintings that the quotes accompanied. They don’t show the work in the greatest of detail. Many of the paintings and drawings were like this, lots of abstract patterns. One piece, which I don’t have a photo of, had similar patterns formed out of the number 6 written again and again.

This was such an elegant combination of art and psychology for me that I just had to share it. I highly reccommend a visit to the HNG and definitely a trip to Budapest if you haven’t been. Not sure what my next post is going to be about yet. I have to say so far writing for this blog has been a great exercise in organising my thoughts!

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