War, other than devastation, leaves long-term mental health syndromes for people. The human mind keeps searching for a place where it could breathe peacefully. In Afghanistan, there are 2.5 million registered Refugees, the world’s second-largest number of Refugees who suffered due to war and sacrificed their peace.
Art Therapy– A Means of Communication
Historically, there has been a relation between Art and War. The Artists used art to oppose the war and to indicate the lethal consequences that wars usually have. Artists like Pablo Picasso, his famous work Guernica which he painted in a reaction to the Nazi’s bombing on Guernica during Spanish Civil War. Depicted the post-war devastations and the sufferings individuals were going through.
Oscar Wilde said, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. e him a mask, and he will tell you the truth”. Art has been a source of communication that one can use to express their abstraction. In short, it heals minds by letting an individual voicGive out everything from his mind. Be it frustration, anger, or their post-war trauma; they can let thoughts out through Art therapy.
Unfortunately, post-war survivors have difficulty in adjusting back to normal life. Therefore, instead of conventional therapy, professionals have shifted to art therapy that helps heal war survivors. Professionally the term Art Therapy was coined by Adrian Hill in 1942 and his idea revolved around the healing of minds through Art. Several pieces of research have concluded that Art therapy helps in self-awareness, managing emotions, and social skills, and reducing anxiety. Later on, it was brought into practice in the mid-20th Century in the United States and Europe to heal the sufferings of veterans and children. It was realized, that conventional methods are ineffective for such cases, hence, the shift towards using art as a healing mechanism.
Therefore, art therapy helps individuals to explore their creative side and enables them to tackle the challenges and uncertainties of their lives. Most importantly, it helps an individual to manage his emotions and builds self-confidence.
Art Heals War Trauma
Similarly, Considering Afghanistan, which has been through a very tough period. Even in the 21st Century, Afghanistan has been the victim of violence and war. Every war or smaller attack, in any corner of the world, drives many things away. People compromise their living standards just like what happened in Afghanistan. They flee to abscond from violence and aggression.
Resultantly, The Negative Emotions of hopelessness, Revenge, Anxiety and fear begin spurring up as a result of war. The hopeful atmosphere changes instantly into a sad one. But in Afghanistan, the atmosphere has remained sad for a long and just did not alter instantly. This is where art therapy helps the victim of war deal with their trauma.
The Art and Afghanistan
The Afghans, particularly the youth had limited opportunities to escape the stressful environment. However, they paved the way to bring change and minimize the negative consequences of war by promoting Arts and books in Afghanistan. In incubation centres, the ideas grew which encompassed the initiatives of using Art to bring social change and alter narratives.
In Afghanistan, many people have become a symbol of resistance and brought art-centric ideas which stood against traditional thoughts and practices.
Initiatives like Artlords and Aschiana have created an atmosphere of peace in Afghanistan by transforming the minds of people with art. These initiatives have helped children and youth to express themselves through colours. Fortunately, apart from these initiatives, the Art exhibitions are also held in Afghanistan to accentuate the ongoing scenarios and to rebuild peace. Afghan artists’ enthusiastic participation in such events depicts their desire for change. As evidently, art heals a person’s traumas.
Different shades of Colors play the role of a catalyzer in social change and in building narratives. It helps bridging people and their ideas. No individual in the world desires war and destruction, hence, everyone deserves peace and happiness. For Afghanistan and Afghans, art can be a means of healing and coping with loss and violence. Hence, the general public should have greater access to it. Art heals and every mind deserves to live in comfort.