Awakening to Art: The healing power of creation

 Clients of Les Impatients find solace through artistic expression

Art therapy is an approach that uses visual arts such as painting, drawing, collage and sculpture, as well as other art mediums, to allow participants to express emotions, deal with past trauma, and use art as a means of communication.

Since 2015, Les Impatients, an organization that offers creative art therapy workshops to clients with mental health struggles, has partnered with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) to exhibit the work of these individuals. Awakening to Art is currently being featured in the museum’s education wing, showcasing the talents and healing journeys of these participants.

Using the techniques and healing modalities of art therapy, participants have chosen the themes of identity and self-empowerment for this year’s exhibition. Volunteers François Martin and Louise Livernoche, as well as the director of Espace Création, Dominique Payette, came together alongside the participants from two Integrated Health and Social Services Centres (CISSS) in Montérégie to create this powerful display.

As you enter the room, to the right, viewers are welcomed with a wall of portraits depicted in white and red paint on black foam core. There is a beautiful cohesion among the pieces hung side-by-side, yet each work was so remarkably individual. The visual as a whole is striking and bold, and the inherent narrative of emotion radiates from each unique piece.

Wire sculptures hung from the ceiling and rested on small white shelves. Bright white lights shone onto the installation, creating shadows from the sculptures on the wall—this gave the illusion of two works of art within the same one. The sculptures themselves, alongside the shadows, give the impression of the installation coming to life. Together, the installation was a sight that would take any art enthusiast’s breath away. Every time you look at the installation again, you see a different dimension to the work.

Fabric arts were also amongst the pieces in the collection. Quilting and beadwork hung on the walls and colourful rows. Included in the collection of artworks were clay and textile pieces inspired by the museum’s current exhibition, Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives.

Make sure you take the time to go to J.A. DeSève Gallery, Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion, level S1, the next time you go the MMFA to check out Awakening to Art, on until March 8.



Photos by Britanny Clarke.

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