Art For The Heart Continues

By: Samantha Rennie – Tobin Brothers Funerals
Friday, May 30, 2014

If you take the “art” out of the “earth” what you’re left with is “eh”…

Art for the Heart, a free exhibition being held at the Yarra Gallery, Federation Square in November, aims to put “art” back into our everyday lives, especially when we need it, at times of loss and grieving.

When I talk to people about the Art for the Heart exhibition I am amazed at how many people say they are not creative. What happens between birth and adulthood that causes us to stop seeing how we make and create things? We are creating all the time but we have a narrow definition of what being creative is or whether the things we create are valuable or not. When I delve a little deeper most people write, garden, cook, build, or do something that makes something new in the world. Perhaps fine arts, our schools, or parents have something to answer for all the children who somehow stop drawing and making because they learn that it is not good enough or valuable in some way. As children we naturally make things just because it’s fun!

As adults we can make things because it makes us feel good too. I was out to dinner with a couple of girlfriends and we were talking about Art for the Heart. The usual response of “I have nothing I could do for the exhibition” was given.

I told them about one of our entrants from last year who cares full time for her schizophrenic son. She emailed me a very powerful poem about her experience but she couldn’t find the energy to frame it and send it, and she didn’t believe it would be of great interest. I was so moved by the poem that I printed it, framed it and it sold in the exhibition.

I then asked one of them to think about making something from her heart and not her head. “What is in there that wants to be seen?”

She went quiet before remembering a time she had spent with Native Americans in Sundance, North America. There were rituals she had experienced that were for healing after the death of a loved one that helped her to feel connected and part of the tribe. These rituals involved tobacco ties traditionally made as offerings for all occasions but especially to honour and show gratitude for all things on Earth, both in physical form and in spirit. My friend realised she could share this experience through Art for the Heart and has now registered her ‘tobacco ties’ for the exhibition and will be offering people the chance to make their own.

We all have feelings we keep inside and don’t share because we feel they are unwanted or inappropriate. Sharing them through actions, symbols and metaphors is a natural way to express our feelings. We process feelings through the right side of our brain which does not include logical or rational thinking. So to process the enormous feelings that are associated with loss of any kind of creative expression can be the most profound facilitator.

What is in your heart that you believe is not creative or not worthy of expression? What are you denying yourself from sharing because you believe it is not good enough? We can hide our stories and deny our gifts but if we are brave enough, when we share them they can bring healing and hope to ourselves and others.

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