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Try the healing power of creative art therapy to bust the stress during lockdown – art and culture


A beautiful landscape, block patterns and abstract designs — the lockdown has led people to explore their artistic side. So much so, our Instagram feeds have been floating with pictures of Bollywood celebrities unleashing their inner Picasso with strokes of art. And like them, many people have increasingly turned towards sketching, painting or coloring to deal with isolation blues.

With unprecedented times, momentary joys, even in dire circumstances, often come through art therapy. Anita Gautam, psychiatrist says, “In this time of crisis and isolation, the role of art becomes more central to our lives, whether we realize it or not. Art therapy is using person’s creativity and artistic method to help in dealing psychological problems. It releases positive endorphins, decrease stress hormones in brain and help proper ventilation of emotions to avoid depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc.”

Shrikant G Poddar drew a portrait of deceased actor Irrfan Khan as a tribute to his life.

Shrikant G Poddar drew a portrait of deceased actor Irrfan Khan as a tribute to his life.

Shrikant G Poddar, fine arts professor adds, “Art therapy puts all your stress into the right place. Art has no boundaries and that’s the beauty of this form. You can paint your world on a piece of paper, and you don’t have to be verbal about it.”

The simplicity of colouring has made many take it up. Srishti Khare, a teacher says, “I took to art during lockdown as it helped alleviate my stress. It gave me wings to fly away through imaginations.”

The choice of colours can make a huge impact on one’s mental state and affect those who watch it. Neeti Banga, a professor at NIFT Delhi says, “It connects the artist’s mind and soul and makes them relax. Art creates positive vibes in the world.”

Derryl Daniel’s artwork titled Light as a Feather which she drew during lockdown

Derryl Daniel’s artwork titled Light as a Feather which she drew during lockdown

For some, growing up meant social distancing from their painting pursuits. The lockdown however, made them find their long-lost love. Derryl Daniel, entrepreneur shares, “Just listening to coronavirus updates made me stressed so my father asked me to start sketching to divert myself from all the negativity. I hadn’t done art since school but now every day I wake up with a thought of creating something new.” Echoing the sentiment, Bhavishya Diswar, a second year student of bachelors in social work says, “I had forgotten how huge a stress buster art is, until lockdown happened. Now I am glued to my canvas in my house.”

People draw not because they could, but because it heals them. Sunanda Basu Mallik, a 10th class student from West Bengal says, “One day I kept all my art supplies hidden and out of sight, because was fed up with myself, only to find myself craving to hold that brush again. It gave me immense pleasure. That day I truly understood how therapeutic art could be.”

Bridgit Cyril’s sketch of her son which she drew during lockdown. She has been using this time to sketch portraits

Bridgit Cyril’s sketch of her son which she drew during lockdown. She has been using this time to sketch portraits

Adding to that, Bridgit Cyril, a teacher says, “Lockdown is an added pressure on women who have to manage household work as well as professional life together. Imagine how stressful that could be; but I could do it with a happy face just because of art therapy. I vent out my emotions by sketching portraits of people and in the process, forget the negativity around me.”

Kaartikeya Bajpai’s artwork titled Mauwakheda Boy he worked on during lockdown

Kaartikeya Bajpai’s artwork titled Mauwakheda Boy he worked on during lockdown

Kaartikeya Bajpai, a writer believes drawing helped him relax and use time more productively. “In art, you have a visual affirmation of the time spent and hard work invested. Art, any form, whether worked upon professionally or as an outlet of your own contained creative energy, brings the kind of calm that is much required during these times of boredom.”

For Delhi based Ashmeet, who suffers from bipolar disorder, lockdown was an added pressure on her mind but she used her energy on art as a therapy. “I was in deep depression and lockdown wasn’t helping much. But painting did by driving away all the negative emotions pent up inside me. It gave me a space to heal myself.”

For 83-year-old William Thakur, art became his muse and he started drawing cartoons to pass away his lockdown blues

For 83-year-old William Thakur, art became his muse and he started drawing cartoons to pass away his lockdown blues

Art isn’t generation-centric. For 83-year-old William Thakur, art became a muse during lockdown. He says, “At my age, the simple joys lie in going out and having little chit chat with people. But after lockdown I had nothing to do. So I took my grandson’s pencil one day and started drawing and found so much joy! Now all morning I am scribbling or colouring something new, especially cartoons – no matter if it’s perfect or not. It makes me content.”

Some have even taken to giving the walls in their homes a makeover during this time. Delhi based professional Tanya Mukherjee, who recently painted the entire wall of her 1 bhk flat says, “After a few days of blissful isolation, the walls started to haunt me so I started painting them. I doodled on some areas and painted abstract shapes on others. The once fearful walls have now become my canvas.”

Mamta Goel has been carving on fresh natural leaves like aak, rose money plant, giloye and harsingar

Mamta Goel has been carving on fresh natural leaves like aak, rose money plant, giloye and harsingar

Others have taken an even creative route by carving. Mamta Goel, homemaker who has been carving on fresh natural leaves like aak, rose money plant, giloye and harsingar says, “In this lockdown, women have only household work and that is very tiring. But art makes me mentally and physically happy.”

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Written by sortiwa

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