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Healing power of art

Adib Noor

The therapeutic power of creating art is increasingly being recognised in the Sultanate.

Earlier this year, as part of World Cancer Day 2022, cancer survivors expressed themselves during an art therapy session at the Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in a collaborative event organised by The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC) of PJSC and Rainforest Gallery.

The cancer survivors shared their courageous recovery journey via artwork, exploring their ideas, expressing their creativity, and motivating them to be more confident.

In May, the Belait District Youth and Sports Department hosted an art programme run by Creative Wellness BN.

Instructor Esther Sim coached participants on blending the making of art with developing personal well-being.

This included the use of art as a form of expression, promoting creativity and focus while, creating a fun and meaningful experience.

Art can help find inner peace, said Design and Technology teacher Mohd Al Amin Afiq Safwat bin Abarahan, who won the ‘Trash to Treasure’ competition with his unique creation the Happy Pelican.

The artist said he uses his creativity to help cope with his experiences of personal anxiety and other negative moodlets.

“If I face a dull day or feel a bit depressed, I turn it around when I use colours and put in on a canvas,” he said, adding that “art has many different mediums for people to express themselves and release their emotions. Painting is open to numerous interpretations while pottery allows imperfections”.

Meanwhile, secondary art teacher Bibi Khamimah said the experience that art gives – whether creating a painting or performance art using sensory mediums – plays a role in adjusting one’s emotions.

It can reduce distress and helps in expressing the pressures that sometimes cannot be described with words.

“I believe that there is always a need for a creative space which is free of judgement, where anyone can feel free to express themselves,” said Mohd Al Amin Afiq Safwat.

“I know when my students feel safe, they can approach me asking for ways to improve their work and to be better.”