I recently held a sale of my paintings to help fund a trip to India and headed off to Bodhgaya with a suitcase full of art materials. Having studied art therapy and witnessed the healing effect of art on many people’s lives, including my own, I wanted to reach out to the children of Tara Children’s Project who have lost both their parents to HIV/Aids.
Jung used Mandalas in psychotherapy to treat himself as well as his patients. He found the effects of colouring in these intricate patterns, to be beneficial in its mindfulness as well as a tool for processing emotions.
These are also used in Buddhism, so they seemed to me, to be an appropriate way to engage with these beautiful young children.
They were very quiet during the workshops, so deeply ensconced in their colouring. Although I would normally need an assistant to work with 20 children, I found them to be so collaborative, that all I needed to do was hold the space. There was no spirit of competition. They all affectionately helped each other.
It was a wonderful experience, and on my return, I created a collection of Butterfly paintings inspired by my trip. The butterflies are fragile, delicate, beautiful and vulnerable like these children.The gold leaf is woven into the canvas like golden threads in a sari.
Although there is plenty of colour in India, there are also plenty of difficulties, hence the grey background for my expression.