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Art, what is art? Art is the creativity brought out by an individual as a means of expressing oneself. Art is the use of a medium to signify an individual’s idea. Art, is the skilful plan of bringing out our thoughts, imagination and real life issues among others.

But do you know that art is therapy? Art enables us to find ourselves and at the same time lose ourselves, ‘but in a good way’. Where you get to bring it all out without limits. With art, you get to speak up. You get to shout, laugh, cry, and do it all loud enough to be heard.

An Australian artist and author Nikki Rowe said “Art is my cure to all this madness, sadness and loss of belonging in the world and through it I'll walk myself home.”

Now, how exactly does art offer us therapy? How does art intend to heal and relieve or offer treatment?

Today, about 50 percent of the Syrians are displaced from their homes with children and the youth making up nearly half of its casualties.

With the displacement, these Syrian families which relocate to foreign countries, are forced to endure pain and suffer from the mental and psychological traumas from the violence witnessed. These include death, hunger and starvation, sexual and mental abuse.

In Lebanon, where close to1.3 million Syrians are living as refugees, there are Art therapy centres that offer help and support to these individuals. Basically, these centres strive to offer support by using the art making process to provide physical, mental and emotional healing.

A good example is the Art of Hope Centre, which was founded by Tara Kangarlou, an award winning journalist who is famously recognized for reporting investigative stories.

The Art of Hope Centre, aims at eliminating some of the trauma and psychological difficulties the Syrian refugees undergo, through art therapy.

The centre does this by empowering local psychologists, therapists, and teachers to support the Syrian refugee population in the country.

Artists, get to share their own painful experiences by illuminating on them during the art therapy. Usually there’s more to art therapy than simply drawing one’s feelings. An artist gets to express oneself though different forms of art.

For instance in visual art, there is painting, photography, making of sculptures and more. In Applied art, there is fashion design, wood crafts and interior designs among others.

Most often, the focus is put in the process rather than creating a finished art product.

Just like a French painter and printmaker Pierre Bonnard said, “painting has to get back to its original goal, examining the inner lives of human beings’’, sometimes art is a reflection of the artist’s world. And this is what art therapy majorly dwells in, examining the artist’s life.

Let this question linger in your mind for a while, as an artist what do you do with your artistic skills? Do you in any way heal yourself or offer the same to others? Because, it is with the skills we own that we do great deeds. What is yours?

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