You can imagine my delight that art therapy or using art in therapeutic manner is becoming quite the norm for health and wellbeing on the Dubai scene. Truth is, everywhere you go, you find hurting people, aching people, people whose hearts have been torn away, where grief has made its home in their hearts and they don’t even know it. Many of us carry such heaviness in our hearts and our bodies; some of us totally unaware of this till a particular situation triggers a waterfall of tears and sorrow.
Amal Serhan, the artist who showcased her artwork at Media One Hotel, Dubai, in early April 2016, is sure to agree with me that art is one surefire way to work through one’s feelings in a safe setting. After years of being active in the local art scene, she decided to pursue a career in art education. As she taught fine arts, she found that parents were interested in her teaching children to paint and draw. In time, she worked towards a certificate in children mental health and now gives art therapy sessions. Her plans are to use the art on a bigger scale to work with children who have social and psychological difficulties.
The art exhibition opening took place on Sunday, March 20 and went on till April 8. Amal showcased 12 pieces of her acrylic art from the Journey Collection. Her work emphasises an overplay of white colour applied with palette knife into which other colours were either blended or married together. Each painting had a poem which described her thoughts and feelings. For example,her thoughts accompanying ‘Hysteria’ go like this: It is moving too fast for you to catch it. Would you dare to try though? Your journey awaits your approval, you are the only one capable of catching the next train and no one will pick you up and place you there. The train will not wait for you.
What Amal’s work has offered to visitors is an opportunity to ‘feel into’ the colours that she used. The interpretation of her art remained open to all, each one finding a different artwork that moved them. Through showcasing her art work she has demonstrated that it is possible to be free from pain because once it’s brought into the light through the form of paintbrush and colours, then light only exists in the person’s heart.As she shared, “One of the objectives of my work is to trigger our minds into the exploration of what is visually perceived; stimulating our conscience to question and challenge norms. ” As I was speaking to her, already a painting flew off the wall into the hands and heart of a customer.
That’s how art should be. Painted from the heart so that it locks in the goodness of what each heart wants to say, and share in silence to others. I found myself drawn to the fiery embers of the painting called ‘Lost.’ It didn’t matter that perhaps it was the brush stroke that Amal used in this painting that made it stand out from the others. Or it could also be that I was attracted to the Carnival and the Fiesta paintings considering that I was still in a festival mood (having just finished working on the second festival project with DFRE-DTCM this year).
Amal Serhan’s exhibition was the 10th art exhibition held at Media One. What makes this endeavour more special is that 15% of the proceeds go to the Start World, an organisation that I’ve previously volunteered for. I’m glad that hotels are fast becoming a lighthouse for emerging artists in the Emirates, drawing tourists and business visitors to sample some of the delights of the art, while doing something for a good cause.
More on Serhan’s work can be found on her website.
Some of the photos courtesy Media One Hotel. Used with permission and thanks.