Agent of Transformation: part 2 “Art as a Verb”

The Arts can be a great tool for healing. Drawing takes us back to our childhood. It allows us to express ourselves freely and dig deep in the different layers of our memories and emotions. Just like children use crayons to easily express their feelings and to describe their conception of the world, we can use the arts as a verb. Whenever a person has gone through some kind of trauma, it often helps instead of making them talk, to have them draw an image of what really haunts them.

The arts go beyond drawing. It can be sawing, painting, dancing, canvassing or singing.

Cynthia Cohen was excellent at describing how the Arts and cultural programs are usually undervalued when establishing  post conflict programs.  In her “Creative Approaches to Reconciliation”, she draws strong and effective conclusions based on empirical studies to prove that the Arts are absolutely necessary to the healing of a society after a conflict.

From personal healing to the restorative justice of an entire country, the Arts can be a bridge that connects two different worlds within a society, just like Johnny Clegg’s 1986 “Asimbonanga”  became strategic in inviting, calling and even urging for unification of the hearts in order to envision a peaceful South Africa through the liberation of Nelson Mandela during the oppressive Apartheid regime.

The “Bead for life” organization of Ugandan from HIV-Aids affected women uses Arts as Fashion and a source of sustainable development. Every year, these women use recycled magazines to construct beads which are then made into necklaces, bracelets and earrings. That beautiful form of art has helped them empower themselves by creating a business model that fosters to a paradigm that has shifted from constant depleting aid to lasting sustainability. Over the course of the years, they have been able to provide for school fees and uniforms for their children as well as medical expenses while using their working hours to connect, and heal collectively.

You can find Part 1 of Agent of Transformation HERE.


by: Wore Ndiaye K.