Art therapy: Ipoh exhibition to display therapeutic journey of self-discovery

Another of Jane’s creations using only her fingers. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Another of Jane’s creations using only her fingers. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Dec 2 — Eighty-year old Jane (not her real name) used to be an active person that headed a non-governmental organisation that took on mental health issues to working with children,

Her world came crashing down however after she started to lose her hearing.

“It worsened six years ago and I tried hearing aids but that did not help much.

“I was misunderstood due to much miscommunication and in the end, I was left frustrated, impatient and angry,” she told Malay Mail.

Jane’s finger ‘Labyrinth’ symbolises life’s journey to the centre of one’s deepest self and back again into the world with a broadened understanding. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Jane’s finger ‘Labyrinth’ symbolises life’s journey to the centre of one’s deepest self and back again into the world with a broadened understanding. — Picture by Farhan Najib

It all changed after Jane started to dabble in art in April earlier this year under the tutelage of Alice Ng, who has more than a decade of experience of working with the disabled community.

For two months, Jane saw Ng twice weekly where she would either explore her artistic side and draw or use modelling clay to make her own sculptures.

“Believe it or not, I became happier after my sessions,” she said, adding that the sessions she had with Ng allowed her to be in touch with her inner self.

Ng said the Jane’s artwork was abstract and only understood by her.

“I do not teach how to draw sceneries or portrait,” she said, adding that her sessions are more of self-discovery journeys where her students are able to share with her their innermost pain.

“To move on, one must let go of the pain and come to accept it.”

Ng’s entry into using art to help people stem itself from her own personal experiences.

“When I was young, I always felt out of place and could not fit in anywhere.”

Memories of happier days for Jane in one of her pieces. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Memories of happier days for Jane in one of her pieces. — Picture by Farhan Najib

That changed after she went on a self-discovery journey to London while studying psychotherapy.

“As a child, I always liked art but as the pieces drawn by me were laughed at, I stopped but during my second year in London, I returned to art to help me move on.

“I do not solve problems nor provide the answers. The answers are found within you.”

Ng said not all stories are bright, cheerful, happy, exciting or positive yet it’s what each person lives — which makes it uniquely intricate and special.

Using only modelling clay, Jane’s expression is personal and part of her therapeutic journey. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Using only modelling clay, Jane’s expression is personal and part of her therapeutic journey. — Picture by Farhan Najib

“Being lost in pain, confusion, darkness with many other struggles in life and working through these challenging and difficult situations and experiences — even a tiny change from the point of where they started to where they are now is beautifully breathtaking.”

Over the years, Ng had helped many who struggled to fit into the society.

“The youngest I’ve had was nine-years-old while the oldest student is 80-years-old.

From December 6 to 8, Ng will be curating an art exhibition for artist Elaine Wong, who herself had gone through personal trauma.

“Wong’s pieces will show how art and creativity help to bring about positive energy,” added Ng.

Entitled RESURRECTED: A Radiant Awakening, the solo exhibition celebrates nature, inner growth, well-being and conscious living.

The exhibition will be held at Tin Alley, Lorong Bijeh Timah here from 10am to 6pm with the opening ceremony slated for December 6 at 2.30pm.

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