“At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer.” –Dr Rachel Naomi Remen
The utilization of art in healing has been at the center of marginalized communities for centuries. Where there has been restriction and abuse, victims have found their voice in self-expression. As survivors of sexual violence, creativity gives us the means to process our feelings, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem when other methods of healing may be triggering. Joy is cultivated through the seemingly childlike acts of singing, dancing, and creating freely. Through our art, we rediscover ourselves and acknowledge the parts of us that may have been stifled.
“Art has helped me to express my pain, fears, dreams, and visions for myself. Through art, I have been able to focus my fears and forge them into something beautiful. I have been able to face my younger self, and at the same time speak to my future self. One of my favorite pieces that I created was painting rubber shoes when we were asked, ‘What will people remember you with when you die.’
This experience challenged me to think about the life I want to live and the kind of legacy I want to build.” – Linet, Freely in Hope Scholar
In challenging ourselves to create, we challenge ourselves to communicate experiences, visions, and lessons in a deeply personal and unhindered way. When words alone are insufficient, art transcends and repurposes our traumatic experiences into healing vessels.
Whether it be poetry, music, painting, dance, or pottery, each medium helps to release stress and enstill confidence. At Freely In Hope, scholars are given the tools to pursue healing through art while creating thought-provoking and personal pieces worth being proud of. Through art, survivors are given back the power to rewrite their story.
“I find my healing through art and storytelling. I am narrating my own story in a way that brings healing to others by encouraging them to be open and embrace storytelling too. Poetry and spoken words are my strongest mediums of self-expression.
I would like to be a prominent actress in the future, majoring in poetry and short films as well as using creativity and art to make an impact.” – Faith, Freely In Hope Scholar
At Freely in Hope, we believe art allows us to share our unique stories in a way that is healing, authentic, and liberating. The Letters to my Future Self series showcases collage art made by Freely in Hope scholars. Scholars used portraits depicting their future selves and kitenge (pieces of African fabric) to tell the story of who they aspire to become in the future. The letters they wrote to their future selves reveal their vision for how they hope to contribute to building a world full of hope and freedom. Follow our Instagram to read more letters from this series.