PHOTOGRAPHY August 22. 2017
Former participants in the arts programs I run with trauma survivors have taken up photography – with gusto. They followed my posts on Facebook and have become intrigued and excited by how I see and record my world through the lens.
Gradually these people – often crippled with anxiety and depression, housebound and isolated – have picked up a camera and gone outside to photograph their world through their eyes. They post their images onto Facebook and receive likes and encouragement.
Don’t you need an artist in your health organisation?
I have noticed that residents with dementia in aged care are able to have very insightful and interesting conversations about art. Even those who are usually extremely confused can describe the art, tell a story about when they travelled to wonderful galleries and cultural cities, created art, and I have been totally amazed at the insights about movement, light, relationships.
I am quite impressed with the purple nails too … beautifully complements the yellow tutu.
Working artistically and creatively with people who have experienced significant childhood trauma starts with small projects that can easily be managed and completed.
We start our clay groups off with simple pinch pots – before tackling more challenging creative tasks.
People feel great about creating something; discovering a love of clay and their own strengths in creativity, emotional regulation, being social and completing a task.
CONCERTINA BOOKS for trauma
This concertina book is from a series I created called “A little library on Suffering and Loss”. It is a non-text based book reflecting on the long-term impact of childhood trauma. The visual arts opens up possibilities to victims of trauma to express when words are not available or cannot fully capture what they are trying to convey.
ART in cancer care
Accompanying a loved one through cancer treatment is epic. Uncertainty, fear, tiredness, worrying about money are often part of the experience of family members. When carers are offered the opportunity to make art, they are also being offered the opportunity to rest : a calm, enjoyable creative space in which to regroup and restore.
This woman in Nepal joined our program in a cancer hospital where her husband was receiving treatment. She totally immersed herself into the painting – probably an activity she had never experienced before.
TANGLE expressing trauma
Often as an artist working alone in my studio I am unsure about the work. Will others respond to my intention for it? This little book called Tangle is attempting to capture the affects of trauma and loss – as it has been described to me from women in my art groups.
When I have shown in to people affected by trauma, grief and loss – the response has been “That’s me”.
ART in mental health.
In-patients in an Indian Mental Hospital were excited and keen to participate in a painting project I ran there last year. I showed them some of the stunning dot paintings created by Aboriginal Artists from Northern Australia and invited patients to look carefully at those paintings and create their own versions, using their own colours and symbols.
I love to show different artists’ work to participants to inspire them – but also to show how different people express themselves, their lives and their emotions. It opens their eyes to new possibilities, to new ways of seeing the world, of expressing themselves, of creating.
The excitement and pride in what these patients had created during our workshop was palpable.