For most of us our environment is generally nurturing and positive, but for some, it can be traumatic, such as experiencing horrific events in war zones or being raised in an abusive home. Art is often the healing balm that soothes these harsh realities, as well as provides long term benefits. This week’s Positive Art News shows you an art therapy program that uses mask-making to help veterans deal with their trauma, shares how Marina Abramović turned her abusive childhood years into a rewarding art profession, and introduces you to an interior designer in New York City who is combining traditional Feng Shui with ecology and the healing power of nature to enhance indoor environments.
Mask-Making As Art Therapy for Veterans
Melissa Walker is an art therapist who works with veterans to help them heal from the trauma and wounds of war that has left hundreds of thousands of soldiers with seizures, sleep disorders, and memory and cognitive difficulties. She guides them through mask-making in a program at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. In an interview in National Geographic magazine Walker said, “With all the returning injured service men and women, we needed to look for additional types of treatment. I had already used the masks in an inpatient unit, and when I came here, it dawned on me I could implement that here. After a very short time, it became clear [they] were taking to art therapy.” Read more.
You may also want to read a related article “What Is Art Therapy?”.
Marina Abramović’s Harrowing Childhood Became the Raw Material for Her Art
Marina Abramović turned her traumatic childhood into creative power. In an article by Maria Popova Marina Abramović revealed how she was raised in a home of severe control, discipline, and violence. She suffered from her mother’s continuous punishment. She was forced to spend time alone, isolated from other children. However, in spite of these harsh conditions, Abramović began to harness her innate creativity. When she was only three years old she began drawing daily. Popova wrote: “Drawing became a lens through which she saw and understood the world.” Her story is told in Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal. Abramović is quoted as saying, “You know you are an artist if you have to do art — it’s like breathing and you have no choice. Nothing should be able to stop you.” Read more.
You may also want to read a related article “Personal Healing Through Artistic Expression”.
Feng Shui and Green Practices in Interior Design
Our environment can transform our stressful lives significantly. Feng Shui is an art form that follows a specific arrangement in an environment so that it has a positive effect on the people inside a space. Debra Duneier is a Feng Shui Master Practitioner, an accredited LEED® Green Associate, Certified Eco-Designer, and a New York State licensed real estate broker. She is also the creator of the EcoChi® system of design and the award winning author of EcoChi: Designing the Human Experience. She states, “We are on the forefront of Environmental Sustainability with an innovative approach that meticulously blends green practices with environmental psychology and classical feng shui.” EcoChi is based on a fundamental truth that people feel best when they are connected to nature. When nature is brought indoors, such as green living walls, attentiveness increases and a sense of calmness prevails. Nature environments also lower pulse rate and blood pressure and increase white blood cells. Learn more.
You may also want to read a related article “Photographic Art in Hospitals Aids The Healing Process”.