Art Healership Lessons

A lesson on loving yourself

We are reminded in Kollwitz’s etching of the most powerful bond that exists: a mother’s love for her child. Such unbridled raw emotion shows us, as barely functioning adults, that we should recognise our own capacity to mother ourselves, to give ourselves the kind of love we received in childhood, though of course that is not the case for all children.

For the loved, it is a reminder that the only person who can carry on this kind of unconditional self-care is us – the mother-child bond cannot be found outside of you, the burden of loving yourself unconditionally is now all yours.

For the latter, this etching provides us a useful insight into the depth of love we should, but often don’t, generate for ourselves. We could see the child in her arms as our own past selves, a self that is unused to receiving unconditional care, forgiveness, and patience; we can then see what it should look like to give ourselves the love a mother should give her children in her healthiest and best state, and what it should look like when she loses something as precious as you.

What we should etch into our own psyches is the truth that, when we learn to mother ourselves, the greatest loss there can be is the loss of love for yourself.

Art Healership

Who (and what) is an Art Healer?

You. Any step towards self-actualisation that involves looking at art makes you an art healer. It is a role that requires boldness, intelligence, and resilience.

Art is a reflection of the humanness of those who make it and those who look at it.

Art Healership Lessons

A lesson on letting go

Ai Wei Wei, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995, triptych of black and white prints

It is time to break what we know. Everything that was held dear could be, at best a social construct, and at worst, unconsciously destroying our lives.

Ai Wei Wei eloquently shows us the power of destroying what we value, be it a 2000 year-old urn or a preconceived idea. He forces us to confront everything that is; he demands we ask, ‘why?’, imploring that we demand, ‘but what is it all for?’, and ending with a revolutionary, ‘what if we forgot all we knew to be important and created something new?’

As we look upon history dropping, falling, and shattering, a way of thinking and being, lies in pieces on the floor, we must ask ourselves what exactly we’ve been holding on to for so long and why we’ve been holding on so tightly. Past traditions are no less valuable, even when they have been dropped. But, perhaps they need to be broken so we can pick up the remains and use them create something better tomorrow.

We are led to forget that society is entirely man-made, from our traditions to our ornamental décor. Ai Wei Wei bluntly points out that our ways are not indestructible, they are fragile and can, and should frequently (especially when causing damage and destruction), be shattered. With this reminder, an answer crystallises for anxious questions:  how can we move on from the past? how can we improve? how can we move on from what we know?

Let go.

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