Healing through art and play
FRIDAY . ART & CREATIVITY
Making art isn’t just “making art” at Damanhur. It’s almost always a collective creative process, so we can be enriched by the diversity of others and nurture our union as a community. It’s a challenge that we give ourselves: making art or even everyday objects with our own hands, clothes and furniture, utensils and leather work that may last a lifetime, instead of the consumer habit of buying cheap products and soon throwing them away. Art is also a healing process, a method for exploring our inner depths and reading the language of our memories, wounds, desires, and most elevated dreams.
Here are some thoughts from Arciere Aglio, a Damanhurian artist and the coordinator of the Damanhurian Art School program, on art and healing.
“To feel healthy and whole, we all need to give space for expressing ourselves in some way. The more we express ourselves, the more we let the current of life flow through us, as life force, which completes us and supports our well being. If we are not able to find the right channel for this self-expression, the emotion and energy can be suppressed in the body and become an illness.
So, being an artist is a natural role for humans, because it liberates these functions. The artist in us interacts with the world, telling about what is alive in our experience and in our own continual transformation.
For many years, I have been guiding art therapy sessions. I propose creative and fun dynamics, offering people the opportunity to express themselves freely through simple and immediate exercises. From the results of the work – whether they are paintings or even theatre dynamics – people are often able to read and interpret actions, forms, colors and symbols, as photographs of their own experience, moods, feelings and choices.
So, there is the opportunity to see many things about oneself from new points of view, and the entire group of participants interacts in this reading, offering indications and perspectives. It is always very interesting to see what emerges from their artistic creations. It’s always a new and surprising scene. Usually, much more comes to light than people knew they had within them.
As I said, in our courses and workshops, we don’t only use the language of painting. We can use music, writing, dance, improvisational theatre… cooking too! Even reusing everyday objects, seen from different points of view and ways of thinking about them.
Movement and playing games are fundamental tools, because in this way, we can bypass logical-rational thinking, habits and social conventions. When we do something pleasurable and dynamic, the body reacts right away, so we stop thinking and our different personalities and sides of ourselves come out, ones that are less evident, other talents… in other words, our true nature.”