Art as an instrument of healing and connection at ‘Building Bridges Through Story’

Art as an instrument of healing and connection at ‘Building Bridges Through Story’

 Attendees of BBTS were privileged to be able to view artworks from artists of Aboriginal and refugee backgrounds. During the morning break, four of the artists described a little of the context of their art. A common thread could be found with three of the descriptions – two from Aboriginal Australian women and one from a woman of refugee background. The common theme was the healing nature of being involved in art. It is a way of diffusing the feelings associated with difficult experiences, like grief, loss, and challenging personal experiences. Minoo is an artist who works with resin. She described how coping with her child who has autism caused her great distress in the past: “I was crying every day,” she told attenders at BBTS. She explained how she then returned to practising art and found in it a source of joy and comfort. These are Minoo’s words about her art:

“When I was young I remember my father took me to a farm. The view was breathtaking. When we got back I tried to explain my point of view. But I couldn’t explain my vision but I realised I could express my vision through drawing with just a black pencil. I realised how much happier I was when I drew my thoughts instead of explaining them. I started off with a beautiful sunset on a beautiful farm – a great picture of God’s creation. I started with a black pencil drawing then oil painting and now resin. I wonder if God made all this with just a little pinch of love and nothing more than that. Painting with resin is a new experience for me. Resin is a two-part blend that hardens to a clear glossy finish. It can be used on its own, or with additives mixed in such as resin epoxy paste, mica powder, alcohol, ink or acrylic paint; each different combination making different styles.”

A man of refugee background spoke about his displayed pictures which depicted traditions from his country, Sri Lanka.

An-lyn Young, an Aborginal artist talked about her painting. She said that it was inspired by sitting near a river, which brings her peace at times of loss.

The art itself is a bridge, telling stories of the artists’ cultural backgrounds and also speaking to us, the viewers, of their personal experiences of beauty that have been sources of healing.