Saturday 6 August 2016

Art and Health in Barbados - Magazine Article

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to talk about the impact that Art can have on our health and well-being in a monthly magazine called Better Health. Each month they cover a variety of topics that highlight a wide range of health issues and gives the readership in-depth information and sign posts them to resources to enable them to be proactive in taking steps to improve their own health and that of their family.

I shared my story about my journey and it is funny when you look back over your life and see the many different roads you could have gone down.  I could never have foreseen my current move that brought me to Barbados and I know that every step of the way has brought its highs and lows but in each situation we have to see what the gift is in the lessons we are being shown. If you’ve followed my blog and read some of my posts you will know that I’ve worked in a few diverse fields before becoming an artist.

I think that the common theme that runs through each of the areas of work is wanting to help others  I worked for many years as an Executive Secretary in education, design and then in the NHS before doing my degree in Complementary Therapies.  I focused on Nutritional and Massage therapy because I could see the link between the food that we ate and how we treated our bodies.  I had also lost my father and brother to cancer and my mother was diagnosed with dementia, so looking for a holistic approach to health has been vitally important for me.  I further saw the impact of massage therapy and later art and creative activities including music, dance, theatre and even horticulture, and started to do more research.

I found that art and creativity consistently had a big impact on individuals who either viewed activities in the 'arts, say by going to a gallery as well as those who took part in creative activities, and it really enabled people to express themselves in ways they were unable to verbally, and people were able to say how they felt using a range of different tools and be involved with a creative practice that brought about the feeling of well-being.  This was also the case for those who took part in my 3 year project with the elderly who had varying degrees of dementia.

If you have taken any of the classes I have run as part of either The Journey Within, One BadAss Journal or My Color is Beautiful Art, I try and create lessons that not only get us learning a new technique or creating a lovely piece of art, but also to get us to ask ourselves the questions that we often try to avoid.

Art for me is an integral part of my life and it was such a pleasure to share a part of it in the magazine.  I see art and creative activity as a vehicle for sharing the stories and acting as a bridge between what is told and what is left unsaid and brings out the richness and the passion that is handed down and that captures the imagination of generations.

My journey here in Barbados has only just begun and I hope to share more of our journey, insights, highs and lows of taking that step of faith.  If you want to read the article in the magazine, send your email address to amanda(at)realityarts(dot)co(dot)uk and I will send you a copy.

I would love to hear how art and creativity has impacted on your life and the way in which you use it to tell your story.

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