It was a beautiful – and powerful – sight for me. My 65-year old mom and my 8.5-years old Pari sitting at the same table and making art. Pari does art often, that’s not unusual. But, convincing mom to do art was not so easy. And, I’m glad I did so, for those two hours or more that mom dived into the process of making art, was healing, to say the least. Healing, not just for her, but for me too.
I’ve often told her to join Pari and me to paint, draw or anything such. And, she’s mostly resisted except for a couple of occasions when she made (partially) a paper mache bowl, and some leaf doodles.
This time, as she visited us here in Goa, I was keen to involve her (in art). She’s been tired – mentally and physically – of her own health, boredom, relations and such. And, tape resist art that we’ve been making a lot of these days, was the perfect opportunity. I implored to her that she doesn’t have to be great at drawing or painting to make a beautiful painting. Tape resist art is about having fun with colours (and tape of-course); I showed her some of those that we’d made. She loosened up…..
Was she able to remove some of the mental blocks…..?
Well, that evening, in our art studio I could see she was immersed in the process. She was enjoying it. She was feeling relaxed. And, relieved (she could be herself?). Her focus was unwavering; the calm on her face very visible. She was seeking input from Pari, which Pari loved giving (it boosts her confidence and self esteem). I was facilitating and encouraging. Her urge to see her painting come out beautiful was understandable. She has never considered herself good at art/drawing – though she’s done some gorgeous embroidery work in her young days. I suggested her to try water colours and then glass colours – to make her artwork pop.
The result was spectacular, I think. She was satisfied, too.
I felt blessed to know something else that I was really hoping for in my heart of hearts. I asked her, “…so mom, if you can recollect, what was it you were thinking of when making that art -over the last two plus hours.” She took a few moments. And then replied, “nothing really. I was only focusing on the colours and on making my art look good.” I prodded, “did you, even once, think about those things (I pointed out to the ones that have affected her peace) – those nagging thoughts.” “Not once”, she said.
She also slept better – she told me this the next morning. She also told me she’d like to buy some paint, brushes and drawing/painting sheets before she left for Delhi. She added, she’d really like to get those glass colours. I was delighted and promised to get as soon as possible. After a couple of hours, I see Pari and Mom heading out to the nearest shop that stocks some basic art supply. I resisted, “why do you want to get from that shop; they hardly have anything worthwhile. Let’s go to that proper art supply store in couple of days.” But, they had made up their minds. Off they went and returned with two packs of glass colours, drawing books, colour palette etc.
Pari’s tape resist art with water and glass colours
Art was able to draw out the child in my mom. The child that was lost ever since she was a child. Well, yes, she never got to be one. She never got an opportunity to draw, paint, play. She was a girl child, 65 years ago, in the male-child worshipping Indian society. The gender bias is prevalent even today. But back then, it was like a curse that maligned even a woman’s perspective. It clearly afflicted the thinking of my mom’s mother. To her, her daughters were people (?) who would cook, clean, serve and basically get trained to be married away and serve the husband’s family – at age 12 or 13 or such. The feminine of this earth deserve more respect and love.
So, that evening, even though for merely couple of hours – she was able to forget her pain – physical and emotional. Seeing her imagination take shape on the canvas brought a subtle sparkle in her eyes. She hesitantly expressed her joy and accepted – albeit reluctantly – that art can be for her.
Art does heal. Art does to your brain waves what prayer or meditation or music does.
Her healing healed me, too, at ‘some’ level. This healing has to continue….
What are you healing from, right now? Which process is working for you?
Art? Music? Prayer? Nature? Meditation? Healing circles? Crying? Poetry?
Pari’s (top) and Mom’s art side by side…
That text in Hindi (centre of the painting) translates to: Om Sai Namoh Namah (the mantra mom recites)
Some more views from Pari’s art..
swirls and curls…
makes me want to write poetry…!
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