Posts Tagged ‘art’

If you enjoyed reading my last post about art therapy, you can read the real article via the ChiTownDaily News here.

I really enjoyed writing this piece. Getting to know more about various types of therapy definitely brings to light various avenues (and, will hopefully change some opinions) about professional mental health techniques.

Gwenn Waldmann and the folks at ATC do wonderful work.


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Lynsey Addario
Photo Credit: Lynsey Addario

Jimmy Briggs is telling a story about a Congolese woman he is interviewing.

The woman is describing how she was raped twice in one day.

In the interview, the woman explains that her brother, husband and children were present when she was first attacked in the morning by the Congolese government army.

When they were  finished, the army left the house.

Later, that afternoon, non-government soldiers arrived. They are more brutal. The woman’s husband ran away.

Her brother tried to hide on the rooftop. The militia shot him. The group of men (5 in all) proceeded to rape the woman inside her house. Her children began to call for help outside the home.

The militia men stop the attack and proceed to leave. The woman follows them out. Then, one by one, they shoot each of her children in the back of the head. They proceed to finish the rape.

They leave.

I heard this story while at the Congo/Women opening reception this past Thursday (curated by this organization). The room is surrounded in black and white photos of Congolese men, women and children.

There are huge color photo displays detailing the life and violence in the Congo.

It’s beautiful. Yet, it is also tremendously tragic.

The room shudders with a very still quiet. Mr. Briggs tells the crowd that he wants us to remember this woman’s story. Do not be afraid to remember it. Be brave enough to keep it in your mind.

He wants us to remember that we have the power to change the world if we remember to tell each other’s stories.

Sometimes, the only power you have is simply telling someone else’s story.

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via Oren Lavie, “Her Morning Elegance” Music Video

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gwyneth-paltrow2I am a subscriber to Gwyneth Paltrow’s oddly monikered newsletter GOOP.

When GOOP made its inaugural appearance, Paltrow gave teasing tidbits about the newsletter’s forthcoming niche with six plain verbs: MAKE, GO, GET, SEE, BE and DO.

While Paltrow effortlessly floats an easy sense of quiet cool and has been christened as one of many style icons – her trendsetting sophistication online comes across as over inflated and a tad vapid.

The same persona that stretches across on the movie screen recoils into an unattainable (Paltrow deems it “inspirational”) chic via the GOOP’s pages.

One can guess that GOOP’s intended audience should consist of madcap, independently wealthy sophisticates, the Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsens of the world who have the time (and, obviously the money) to embark on Paltrow’s suggestions of purchasing $800 Giuseppi Zanotti boots or jetting off to London to try out the Hempel Hotel.

Given the current economic crisis, dropping demand for luxury and the squelching of available airline flights – Paltrow’s newsletter seems (dare I say it?) ill timed.

That get-away to Paris to see the Alexander Calder exhibit doesn’t have the same ring as it used to in maybe…2005?

GOOP is not all empty fashionista musings, the section BE concentrates on personal development in which several advisors from different helms of psychology, religion and personal growth add their perspectives on how to deal with pessimism.

But she’s Gwyneth Paltrow – she can do that, right? The famously wealthy have those options – it’s the privilege that comes with swirling in such lusciously lavish territory.

Yet, what puzzles me about Ms. Paltrow’s newsletter is the aloofness that comes within its own context.

In other words, why does nourishing the inner aspect (GOOP’s tagline) have to be so obviously and unabashedly rich?

Perhaps, I’m answering my own question.

The abundant, snazzy, swanky good life spills from GOOP and you can’t help but feel ridiculous. The idea of inspirational chic wanders into a distant memory compared to current nightmare of  mass job layoffs and dwindling consumerism.

Even Ms. Paltrow’s gift ideas are laced with a naïve politeness to remind that even as the holidays descend upon us, it’s quite appropriate to purchase a $75 cake knife or $45 cashmere socks – it’s all about the intention (even the luxurious ones).

Ms. Paltrow does not have to clip coupons, investigate clearance sales racks or maybe even suffer buyer’s remorse. Her advice about living life to the fullest requires knowing that eating the upper crust will taste as rich (and cost as much) as she makes it appear.

She provides recipes detailing her love for turkey ragu and buckwheat banana pancakes – she even suggests that we live holistically and get enough sleep (everyone needs more sleep!).

GOOP’s had quite a few critics, and yet I’m not sure how Ms. Paltrow would respond to such cynicism. After all, a life as fabulous as the one she lives has to be shared, no?

Ms. Paltrow only wants to inspire, whether or not the inspiration is more for her benefit than it is for others.

And no, I’m not calling Ms. Paltrow ridiculous – but her newsletter is quite so in every sense of the definition. While it’s fine to show us hoi polloi what a wonderful life is all about – I think GOOP is missing a bit of reality from its simple verbs.

I may not cancel my subscription to GOOP anytime soon, I just don’t take it nearly as seriously as my addiction to Life Hacker.

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A Message About Darfur

Currently, I’m volunteering with a fledgling organization that is dedicated to using art and design to create social awareness about human rights issues across the globe. I’m helping in a number of ways, which includes developing the organization’s web presence, creating a newsletter, project cataloging – and oh, did I mention that I’m also supposed to develop one of their art exhibit tours?! Specifically, I will be handling the print exhibit that showcases the work of photojournalists who visited Darfur.*

Yes, it’s a lot. And there is a lot of work to be done.

But, it’s definitely worth it. In the end, people will get to learn in a new way about the atrocities happening in Darfur, the Congo and other areas of the world where violence has infiltrated the daily social infrastructure. Yet, beyond that, there is a rich, beautiful and powerful heritage that people don’t get to see (or understand). 

I will keep you posted as we take the (baby) steps towards growing the work and spreading the message of this organization.

*If you aren’t aware about what’s going on in Darfur, please read this, this or this.

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