I recently had three weeks holiday and had to break a group I was running at SECASA (South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault) into two six-week parts. The women in this group are passionate about their art and creativity. Few ever miss a session and some have set up creative spaces in their home to continue making art during the week. I love that about these women!
I didn’t want them to lose momentum while I was away so I gave them each a handful of matchboxes with an invitation to create mini-artworks over the break. The results were amazing, joyful, thoughtful, surprising and delightful. These are just some.
We discussed using the inside and outside of the boxes, perhaps using the inside for secret messages, which provoked an interesting conversation in the group. In the sexual assault realm, most secrets are not good, as they often enable abuse to continue. So many secrets are carried by people who have been abused – and especially by children. We reflected on secrete … not all are awful – a secret being kept for a surprise birthday present or holidays is a good secret; and some things whilst not a secret, may be private. Art making can be a really strengthening way to explore these themes.
Many of these artworks involve both the inside and the outside of the box … I can’t show you them all properly here, but you open some to find the most delightful surprise – a bunch of roses, affirmation cards – words of hope and joy to the viewer, a fairy tale, a little bird in the bird house, an underwater scene. Totally creative. Totally wonderful. Surprises rather than secrets.
Making art with others is fun. Some of the women created little masterpieces with their friends and others with children. Others just loved creating on their own. Getting past the “I don’t know what to do” stage can be a bit of hurdle, but once started, it is hard to stop. The imagination keeps firing and it is not hard to find yourself with a tiny little art gallery. I was totally amazed by the number of artworks that women made, by their incredible imaginations and gorgeous works.
Visitors to SECASA in Seaford can enjoy ours which are on display in the reception area.