The Transformative Power of Art: Afghan displaced children and youth paint their lives

CREART . Photos by:  Afsaneh Moghayeri (Iran) and Kiana Hayeri (Afghanistan) (15.01.2016)

CREART. Photos by: Afsaneh Moghayeri (Iran) and Kiana Hayeri (Afghanistan) (15.01.2016)

Norwegian Refugee Council, January 15, 2016, by: Chené Gómez

If there is one universal language capable of transcending the frontiers of time and of connecting cultures - it is art. It awakens feelings, makes ideas visible, and embraces sensibilities. It is difficult to conceive the idea of a society isolated from art and even more difficult to imagine a childhood separated from it. If given the opportunity, children mostly express their interests, desires and fears through artistic representations.

Art is a tool that is used by the child to examine and to question the surrounding world. Art helps the child construct alternative ‘visions’ and ‘versions’ – not only of daily experiences, but also of conflicts and diverse realities.Through artwork, children develop skills such as perseverance, curiosity, creativity, self-esteem, patience and the trust that permits them to face life and conflict with an active, critical and respectful attitude.

From a psycho-pedagogical viewpoint, art permits the development of thought. Art encourages the use of intellectual capabilities such as analysis, the understanding, interpretation and solution of problems. It improves the capacity of expression, provides an atmosphere that helps the physical, mental and emotional recovery of people, and finally strengthens identity through the experience of representing themselves and the world through artistic expression. Art can be applied within the areas related to the mental and physical health, as well as the emotional and social wellbeing of diverse sectors of the population. The curative and therapeutic effect of art on children and youth therefore becomes evident. Especially on vulnerable displaced children who face unique challenges on a daily basis.

Read more here, about how one non-profit, CREART, helps transform the lives of refugees by using art as therapy and as a creative vehicle to bring about positive change.