Art therapy has the power to relieve trauma and I believe it should be used widely to help survivors rebuild their lives. There seems to be a general consensus that more should be done to end slavery and trafficking but still it is an area of criminal activity that appears to be on the rise, even as we now find ourselves in lockdown. Art therapy itself covers various forms, drawing, photography, painting, but it’s still not widely implemented in a role of healing for victims. This is a disparity that some aid organisations are not embracing, I wonder if it is because some donors are unprepared to invest in this, perhaps they consider it too risky, most likely they do not understand the power of art. Lack of funding, is definitely one culprit for it not being widely implemented but the humanitarian community, who must make up the majority, would do well to take art therapy seriously, to challenge perceptions of trafficking and creating awareness.
Many survivors never resolve their emotions of shame, this perpetual mental state is enacted through dialogues of tragic dimensions. Understanding challenges like this, arouses hope that long-term art therapy could have a more positive impact on survivors.
I’ve been working on an oeuvre that I feel symbolises visually, the essential need of support for survivors of trafficking to become engaged in art therapy. In my photograph below, you will see the image of a young healthy strong woman, her hair is fresh, she stands tall. She faces away from the camera and I have tied a teabag with string in her hair. There are five elements in this image, hair, string, fabric, paper and tea, brought together producing an explosive amalgamation. Both the young woman and tea grow, age and ultimately die. She is dressed in linen, made from fibres of the flax plant. It’s a strong fabric, and one of the oldest fabrics in the world, interpreting the time trafficking has been promulgated.
A tea bag typically has a one time use, we use it and then discard it. In this photograph, I wanted to highlight this connotation as a form of identifying the toll of human trafficking but by deviating slightly, I also wanted to reconstruct this identification with the power of healing. I selected a green tea bag, without an identity (label). The tea itself has fallen to the left, left is a word of past tense and the past participle of leave, it indicates that something happened in the past. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, natural compounds that have health benefits. It also contains caffeine and L-theanine, this combination powerfully improves brain function. I wanted to emphasise that we can reverse this introspection. We can revise our judgements that these abused women have been used and discarded and we can challenge that, we can put virtue into their bodies, we can help to heal them, improving the function of their bodies and minds. We should all morally and ethically, help heal these woman, it is our duty, art therapy is nothing without transformation.
I want to personally thank all of the featured talented artists for submitting your works to our showcase this week. Together, as we exchange our vision, our fears, our hopes and our dreams, we become one.
If you would like your work to be considered for entry in to our weekly Mobile Photography and Art Flickr Group, please submit it to our dedicated group, here. You can also submit images to our Instagram tag for this section #theappwhisperer.
Susan Maxwell Schmidt, Vadim Demjianov, Mark Walton, Jun Yamaguchi, Allyson Marie, Jean Hutter, Jill Lian, Louise Whiting, Kerry Mitchell, Kathy Clay, Rita Colantonio, Catherine Caddigan, Oola Cristina, ilovekongfu, Laila, Clint Cline, Meri Walker, Deborah McMillion, Gianluca Ricoveri, p.a.hamel, Jane Schultz, borisbschulz2009, Candice Railton, @rejanerubino, @lizanderson48, @headattacks – Manuela …, @dreamsandfields, @gummymitthai, @appsolutejest, @klimtt – M. Cecilia Sào Thiago, Janis Brandenburg, @guryanova_phone, Ilise Harris, @howtogrowaboy, Alisa Sith Williams, Elaine Taylor, @sakont, Rodolfo Alcaraz, Eliza Badoiu, Susan Latty.
Music this week is ‘Fade into you’ by Mazzy Star
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