BENGALURU: Artists at YepArt have collaborated with Aster CMI Hospital to create curated art spaces for chronically-ill children. They are trying to reduce the trauma caused by chronic illness through art and further assist them in ‘rebuilding their sense of self’ through art therapy sessions.
Naozar Daruwalla, founder of YepArt, feels that art is an efficient way of dealing with trauma, as the door to someone’s subconscious is opened through it. “Children who are disturbed can let out all their anguish and psychological trauma through some sessions of painting. I have worked with children from broken homes and what happens when we make them create art is that the emotions that lie deep inside them make their way out through the strokes of their brushes. By letting these emotions out, they are essentially clearing their mind. In the midst of the colours and brushes, an artist feels no pain, and that is why we use art as therapy,” says Naozar.
“We have chosen children between the ages of seven and 14 because during this time, a person is painting without any influence. He/she is free from societal burden, and hence, there is a certain level of authenticity to their art. After this age, they interact more with society and lose authenticity,” he adds.
Ismail Khan, a 10-year-old who is attending the art therapy sessions, finds the time spent drawing more fun than playtime. “I would rather be sitting here and painting than go to school or do anything else,” he says. Khadira B, Ismail’s mother, says that her son’s painting habit has helped him remain chirpy and bubbly. “He feels more comfortable with himself when he is painting rather than when doing any other kind of work,” she says.
Art for psychological, physical healing
Dr Sonal Asthana, senior consultant at the hospital, says that the artists are finding effective ways in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by medical treatment needed for chronic illnesses. “I think this is the right approach in dealing with these kids. Healing has gotten two components — one is the physical component that can be treated by medical or surgical methods, and the second component is psychological. I think these art therapy sessions are good for treating patients with the second component,” she says.
Ashwini Hegde, visual designer, says, “Art is a kind of therapy that helps you calm down. We are using it to rebuild the sense of self in these kids. This is very effective, as the kids paint away their worries. Art facilitates their healing both physically and mentally. This is just as important as medical treatment,” she says.
Hemavathi M, artist and teacher, says that art has the capacity to heal anyone who has been through trauma. “At our sessions, we give patients freedom and provide them with colours. The colours are incredibly therapeutic. The children also expand their mind and travel to different spaces. It helps them overcome a lot of pain through. There are a lot of emotions hiding inside someone’s head, and art brings them out through colours. Once these emotions are moved from your subconscious, the healing process is easier,” she says.