Con­nect with self us­ing art

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

Free en­try to Te Manawa’s Frida Kahlo ex­hi­bi­tion is in­cluded in the ‘‘Fi­esta de Mu­jeres’’ or Cel­e­bra­tion of Women art ther­apy classes under way at Te Whare o nga¯ Wa¯hine, the Palmer­ston North Women’s Cen­tre.

De­scrib­ing the seven, or pos­si­bly more ses­sions, as a jour­ney of self dis­cov­ery based around Kahlo’s life ex­pe­ri­ences, fa­cil­i­ta­tor Kat Steeneken says each mem­ber of the free Saturday art ther­apy group will also re­ceive two can­vas boards, along with in­sight into them­selves.

‘‘Art ther­apy en­cour­ages us to look at who we are, what mo­ti­vates us and our in­ter­ac­tions with oth­ers,’’ Kat ex­plains. ‘‘It’s about mak­ing a con­nec­tion to your­self and helps you dis­cover your iden­tity.’’

Us­ing vis­its to the ex­hi­bi­tion and Kahlo’s life and art as dis­cus­sion points, the classes opened with a screen­ing of the film Frida starring Salma Hayek and An­to­nio Ban­deras.

‘‘Frida Kahlo had some sig­nif­i­cant things hap­pen to her,’’ Kat says. ‘‘Art ther­apy can be tai­lor­made to tar­get is­sues such as grief, loss, frus­tra­tion, hope­less­ness, family vi­o­lence, health is­sues, in­juries, and sub­stance abuse. Frida was in a body cast, and she painted from her wheel­chair. The mes­sage is ‘you can get through this’ and break through your bar­ri­ers.’’

Kat says that people af­fected by trauma have their life per­cep­tions changed.

‘‘Some­one who has suf­fered say, child abuse has their vi­sion of the world al­tered, and sees it as an un­safe place. But they might not think that their re­ac­tion to the world is any dif­fer­ent to any­one else’s, so they could have problems with things like at­tach­ment.’’

‘‘The suc­cess of art ther­apy is its abil­ity to help with reach­ing out, learn­ing and grow­ing. It opens doors, and lets us look deep within our­selves to see truths that might have been over­looked.’’

Among the top­ics cov­ered are paint­ing tech­niques, colours and mean­ings of sea­sons, hid­den images, the pas­sage of time in art, and paint­ing with mu­sic. Al­though free, Kat says a koha is ap­pre­ci­ated for the 10am-2pm classes.

Do­na­tions of paint and art sup­plies are wel­come. Regis­ter on 355 9088 or through palmer­ston­wom­en­scen­tre@gmail.com

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kahlo’s Self­Por­trait with Thorn Neck­lace and Hum­ming­birds (1940). Art ther­a­pist Kat Steeneken is of­fer­ing a se­quence of art ther­apy classes based around the work and life ex­pe­ri­ences of Frida Kahlo.

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