Art of London, in partnership with Take A Moment, will tomorrow unveil a powerful photography display at the National Portrait Gallery featuring members of the public and hundreds of famous faces with their eyes closed to raise mental health awareness.

Titled ‘Art of London Presents: Take A Moment 2023’ and located in the National Portrait Gallery’s new Spotlight Space, the breathtaking spectacle will showcase 200 celebrities and run for one month, culminating after World Mental Health Day (10th October).

Captured by photographic artist Ray Burmiston, West End visitors will discover never-seen-before portraits of talent taking a moment of pause, including Russell Brand, Ricky Gervais, Roman Keating, Olivia Attwood, Denise Van Outen, Heather Small, Busted, and Fred Sirieix.

The exciting new array of faces will join a host of A-list stars including Brian Cox, Fatboy Slim, Louis Theroux, Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen, Hannah Waddingham, Ellie Simmonds, Kano, Warwick Davis, Ashley Banjo, Noel Fielding, Olly Murs, Rob Beckett & Josh Widdecombe, Ruth Wilson, Aisling Bea, Eddie Izzard, Yungblud, Damien Lewis, Emily Atack, Milly Alcock, Peter and Junior Andre, and Oti Mabuse. Portraits of everyday heroes also feature in the display, including the London Fire Brigade Soho Watch and a cancer survivor who submitted her photograph online.

Inspiring visitors to take a moment for their mental health, members of the public can still submit a selfie with their eyes closed for the chance to appear alongside their favourite stars on the Piccadilly Lights in a poignant finale on World Mental Health Day (10th October).

The head-turning photography project is the latest public art activation for Art of London’s Summer Season 2023: The Art of Entertainment and is free to visit. Whether it’s around a visit to a local restaurant or theatre show, visitors to the beautifully curated Spotlight Space can discover portraits from Ray Burmiston’s impactful portfolio.

Amplifying mental health awareness across the West End, the Piccadilly Lights will screen Take A Moment’s new celebrity portraits every week throughout September, culminating shortly after World Mental Health Day (10th October).

From the award-winning cultural initiative the Heart of London Business Alliance, Art of London Presents: Take A Moment 2023 is one of several activations for Art of London’s Summer Season, celebrating art in all its forms across the creative West End district.

Kelly Hoppen CBE, interior designer and supporter of Take A Moment, said: “I’m delighted to support this powerful and important campaign to remind everyone to take care of their mental health, something that’s so vital but often neglected. During my adolescence I struggled with bullying and the challenges of being dyslexic at a young age, and my mental health definitely suffered. Over the years I’ve learned that even the simplest of exercises such as pausing to take a moment can, and do, help, and I now use this mantra as a daily practise to support my mental wellbeing and stay positive. I hope we can all find comfort in taking a moment, and I urge everyone to visit the National Portrait Gallery to see this impactful showcase of portraits.”

Ray Burmiston, Photographic Artist of Take A Moment, said: “For a boy who grew up in the West End, being able to share this work at the National Portrait Gallery is the ultimate honour. I hope that the impact of so many ‘eyes closed’ portraits, will remind as many people as possible to take a moment for themselves. Those few seconds of pause can make a huge difference to everyone.”

Mark Williams, Director of Art of London, said: “We’re delighted to partner with the National Portrait Gallery to showcase how art can help raise mental health awareness. I hope this powerful display inspires West End visitors to pause and find a moment within one of the city’s most iconic locations.”

Ros Lawler, COO at National Portrait Gallery, said: “The National Portrait Gallery celebrates the power of portraiture to create person-to-person connections, a mission that feels all the more important in the lead up to World Mental Health Day. We hope that people use our spaces and visit our galleries to take time to reflect – including the Spotlight Space where Ray Burmiston’s striking portraits will be shown as part of Art of London Presents: Take A Moment.”

Professor Tim Kendall, NHS National Clinical Director for Mental Health for England, said: “At a time when the world is moving ever faster, with many of us working harder, trying to deliver tomorrow yesterday, the Take A Moment initiative reminds us to slow down, to step back, to stay still and just be. A simple action that can make such a difference to our collective emotional and mental wellbeing. And to people worried about their mental health, I want to say: help is available, you can start by checking the Every Mind Matters platform.

NHS Every Mind Matters is supporting Art of London Presents Take A Moment. Every Mind Matters is an NHS-approved website full of free resources to help you tackle common mental health problems: anxiety, low mood, stress and trouble sleeping, as well as maintain good mental wellbeing.

Culture seekers can discover a raft of spectacular arts destinations, perfect for a moment of reflection, to visit using Art of London’s handy online guides and itineraries, filled with world-class art galleries, theatres, museums, institutions and pop-ups to explore in the West End.