When it comes to art people seek many things from it; some seek the pleasing of their senses, some actually participate in art to make the most of their skills and talents, some people see art as an investment that pays back in terms of appreciation and also for the mere pleasure of looking at it. However, this post is going to be more to do with the human aspect of art. After all, art is about human beings right? This thought came to be when I met my cousin A (keeping her full name away for the sake of privacy) and her new baby.
It was a happy occasion and the whole family was there to rejoice in this celebration. It was a joyous occasion for two reasons, because A had had a baby and also the fact that she had recovered from being depressed over having given birth to a stillborn baby 18 months back. When I approached A to congratulate her and admire her new baby, I was pleased to see that she was looking radiant. After wishing her I spent some time looking around her place and was stunned to see a lot of paintings around the place. Before I could ask her about them, I also noticed that there was a nook arranged with easel, canvas, paints, brushes and thinner.
A noticed me looking at the paintings, and came up to me and said “Hey! Like any of the paintings? I painted them. These are part of my therapy” and smiled at my confusion.
I looked again at the paintings and said “ These are nice”. She grinned her naughty grin and said, “I know they are not that good but they really helped”.
At my questioning look, she explained that after the loss of her baby, she was really depressed and had even sought medical help. Though everyone was kind and her family really supportive she was still lost in a bleak state of depression. At that point she started visiting museums and art galleries to look at paintings as a diversion. She said she used to spend hours online looking up different categories of paintings like the best known paintings of Jesus Christ and the most famous paintings in the history of mankind and others of their ilk. A said while looking at the paintings was great fun, it was not enough to lift her out of her depression.
She started seeking inspiration from reading about great personalities like nice quotes by Mother Teresa. While these were inspiring, she realized that she needed to do something hands on. That is when she came up with the idea of painting her pain out. She said she felt silly doing it but thought the idea had some merit. While A knew that she had limited artistic talent, she found that hours spent on contemplating what to paint and go about painting it, kept her from brooding from her lost baby.
In the beginning P ( A’s husband) was a bit skeptical about the whole painting thing, but as he saw his wife become more and more focused on her painting instead of her lost baby and slowly coming out of her depression, he started encouraging her. Soon she was able to stave off all signs of depression.
As A winded her tale down, I was stuck with the following learning:
Art need not be just about having a talent or skill, it can just be about absorbing your mind
Art can not only please your senses by the creation of artwork to please the visual sense but can help in untangling the twisted threads of our mind
Starting an art project can be a means of connecting to the pain inside you and provide you a creative and productive outlet for your inner angst.
Sometimes all you need is a bit of an inspiration with regard to art to be able to recover from the deepest of sorrows.
I hugged A and bid her farewell even as I filed this unique and lovely way of dealing with maladies of the heart by using art, in the recesses of my heart for future use.