Heal the World to make a difference in someone’s life | Sunday Observer

Heal the World to make a difference in someone’s life

Art, with its therapeutic effect has always been something that reminds us of the things we live for. Drawing and painting is one such art that evoke hidden strokes of emotions and desires for the true shades of colour.

“This time these little ones wanted to make some contribution with all that is happening around them, so they named it Heal the World and they are going to sell their pictures and give the proceeds to the children’s cancer ward at Maharagama” said Saumya Jayasekara, the Art teacher.

Around 126 paintings by 15 students including two adults were showcased at Heal the World, a paintings exhibition at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery on May 31 and June 1. The paintings were created in different combinations using different media; water colour, soft pastels, mixed media- crayons and acrylics, acrylic on canvas, oil on canvas and pencil sketches.

The exhibition was a variety of styles, media and talents from students of Royal College, Ladies’ College, Methodist College, Colombo International School, Asian International School, Burhani Serendib School, Modern Montessori International, past pupils of Ladies’ College and a member of the academic staff at Agamethi Vidyalaya, Colombo 15.

“I don’t influence their style, but guide them to get the correct perspectives, encourage their spontaneity, imagination and freedom of expression,” Saumya said. Her methods of teaching are unorthodox, and she doesn’t use any syllabuses, because the children have enough of that in school. “Here, they are free to express themselves according to their moods and in whatever colour they choose to show their emotions, whether happy or sad. They enjoy the work which is like a therapy to them,” she said.

“I’m a lawyer by profession and I teach purely for the love of art and because I love children. I try to come down to their level which keeps me going. In fact my Art teacher recognized my natural gift with children and my passion for art and she inspired me to conduct classes. I started my class at home with six students in 2007, and it just grew. There are students who are professionals and who spare some time to feel the therapeutic power of art.”

Art has helped her to get through her own emotional upheavals. Indulging in any form of art, whether music, dancing or art earns us this benefit. “When I say that we display the paintings, it has never been for any competition.

This is something aesthetic, and I don’t want them to be stressed and compete with one another. Each has something unique to showcase and I value them equally. But if they and their parents are interested, I make them take part in exhibitions and competitions” Saumya added.

Saumya however noticed a big change in her students’ confidence after they exhibited their paintings. “When they see their pictures on the wall, they feel that their work is good enough to be shown to the public. This is an incentive for them to improve their work. Even in school they are acknowledged when their work has been published,” she said.

The opening preview by invitation for the exhibition was on May 30 when all paintings were put up for sale. “Through their work, if they can make a difference in someone’s life, especially, that of a sick child, it would be lovely, as they then learn to feel for others which is worth much more than words,” says Saumya.

Shari Jayawardhana, the program coordinator for the Women’s Education and Research Centre as a participant of Heal the World said, “The art we create has helped us to be conscious about the environment and view everything in a new light. It’s not like in school or university, your work is not about meeting deadlines, but letting it flow freely on a piece of paper or canvas.” According to Shari, it is not competitive or exam-oriented.

We talked to some of the children to get their views, they said they wanted to make their audience happy through their work and that each of them had several paintings on display. They were glad to have the backing and encouragement of their families for their work.

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