Community Art Therapy

Posted by: Priya Senroy on mars 27, 2015 12:00 pm

day-of-the-dead-568012_640Happy Spring everyone!!!

I can smell, it, see it, touch it…but I can’t feel it in the recent chill spell….yet I am optimistic that “it” is just round the corner…. And the only place where I can see the effects of seasonal changes are in my backyard. The white is getting replaced by brown and yellow shades, the dark browns are slowly turning color and the dead are rising again. Very metaphoric especially with Easter round the corner.

Speaking of death, I saw an interesting show on the television about a well known Mexican holiday called Los Dias de los Muertos. It is held on November 1st and November 2nd. The displays and the showcasing that were shown were seriously a sensory overload. Men and women decorate breads, paper cutouts, dancing skeletons, and sugar skull candies. Artistically crafted caskets and altars are usually displayed in the community to honor the dead.

What struck me was the use of art symbols which the documentary revealed has root in pre-Hispanic culture. This holiday is celebrated at a community level and so is the art making. And when done on a communal level, it is known to provide not only creative and therapeutic outlets, but also enhance and serve as a healing structure.

I am interested in community creative arts-Most of the time I work in individual sessions, but when I do have groups, they are homogenous and are brought together either by a condition or a symptoms or an event. But at times, when it does take place in the community, it’s interesting. I wonder if creative arts projects are done in communities. Where there has been a disaster in a community the therapists may be able to adapt art therapy theory from individual work to community work and also draw on traditional rituals which centrally use community art making, like Los Dias de los Muertos.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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