I have developed an experiential arts-based project that encourages individuals to explore their identity through the creation of a life-sized self-portrait using a variety of paint and other mixed media materials and techniques. First of all, we discuss what constitutes identity and what the subjective meaning of identity is for each individual. Through art-making, self-expression, and self-reflection (that may include writing), participants are able to access intuitive, sensory, cognitive and emotional aspects of themselves that may lie beyond conscious awareness.
Why might this interest you? Self-awareness and understanding can contribute to either a “rebuilding” or “rebirth” of oneself and enhance mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Creativity and the art-making process contribute to improved confidence, self-esteem, and feelings of accomplishment. This identity project in particular offers a celebratory journey into the authentic self and can increase self-worth. Furthermore, externalizing ones thoughts and emotions around self and identity is a cathartic process. In other words, the activity provides a means of release and relief that contribute to overall feelings of wellbeing.
Who might be interested? All populations! This workshop is extremely helpful for individuals experiencing life transitions, communities in which language and culture have been lost, and non-native English speakers (due to the non-verbal nature of the art-making process). I have successfully delivered this workshop with newcomers and refugees, indigenous groups, and teachers and other professionals (who wish to gain an understanding of how their identity influences their professional practice). It is suitable for adolescents and adults and groups between 6 to 12 participants are welcome. The workshop would be excellent for school groups, professional development days and conferences (space and place always requires consideration as tables, wall and floor space are necessary).
Framework/Philosophy: This project is based on the idea that the process of art-making and self-reflecting on the art product can help individuals access information about the self that lies beyond conscious awareness. The activity is also based on theories of creativity and flow. Creativity, or the generation of novelty, is essential for human growth, development, and self-actualization. Being in flow means that one is engaged in a pleasant activity that provides relaxation, promotes mindfulness and offers a means of grounding, centering, and strengthening oneself. This type of visual communication also has the potential to help individuals understand each other as it provides each individual with a voice. This type of expression can also be a powerful means of communication that can be used for social action.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how I might be able to support your group needs or create an arts-based group for you.