Israel/Palestine Art Therapy Project – Entry 5

Israel Art Therapy Project – Entry #5: Paint Your Life Into a Masterpiece

I sit on the edge of a wooden dock that climbed right out of the “Phantom Toll Booth”. While my heart dances in the ripples of this Northwestern winter paradise, I hear a dear friend’s voice echo in my ear, “Be the hero of your own movie.” I spin around 360 degrees with my eyes wide open. A bald eagle nest is resting in the tree behind me,

Israel/Palestine Art Therapy Project – Entry 4

Israel/Palestine Art Therapy Project – Entry 4:
“3 Days, 3 Nights, 3 Murals”

A two week downpour in Israel concluded with a snowstorm in Jerusalem… and after a 2 day traffic jam and countless car accidents last year in the capital following a blizzard, when snow falls roads close. Essentially, the thousands of years of memory wonder the streets alone on the rare day that white flakes fall from the sky. Day after day we checked the walls,

Israel/Palestine Art Therapy Project – Entry 3

Israel/Palestine Art Therapy Project – Entry 3: “Oasis of Peace”

“Do you see him?” Shira Shvadron asked. I squinted my eyes after struggling to finish my burnt coffee at 7:12 am on the streets of Jerusalem. On the opposite side of the road a long, silver haired bohemian artist was walking towards us, moving to the beat of the Indian sitar. “We are going to get along just fine!” Robert Markey has been creating mosaic murals with the underrepresented children worldwide for over 30 years.

Israel/Palestine Art Therapy Project – Entry 2

Israel/ Palestine Art Therapy Project: Entry 2 – “The Bridge Over the Blue River”

Jisr Az Zarka is known to be the most economically impoverished Arab village of Israel, and yet, the quality of life in the hearts of the youth is growing everyday. We, Shira Shvadron and Benjamin Swatez, drove into this beach town, “The Bridge Over the Blue River”, with eyes wide open, feeling the story within the decaying walls. We were welcomed with open arms and immediately jumped into art class for the next 5 days.

Israel/Palestine Art Therapy Project – Entry 1

Israel/ Palestine Art Therapy Project: Entry #1 – The journey into the “Promised Land”

I, Benjamin Swatez, stepped onto the plane leaving LAX towards Istanbul on February 3rd, 2015. Thousands of dollars worth of art supplies were loaded into the Cargo department beneath the passengers. An existential feeling of liberation washes over me as I melt into the seat, a memorable deep breath oxygenates my lungs and I waive goodbye a beautiful chapter. As the following chapter knocks on the door,

Tunuyan, Argentina Art Therapy Project

Art Therapy in Tunuyan, Mendoza, Argentina…OMAI.

Tears come to my eyes as I am blessed to paint with 160 children in the last week. Witnessing children being children is one of the most prescious sights I can ever imagine. Children that have been removed from their homes due to violence, children with mental and/ or physical disabilities, a kindergarden of smiling toddlers, and a school full of wild and fun youth… everyone has been welcome to paint. This week has been devoted towards drawing and painting human emotion.

Mami Wata: Heal the Children of War Through Art: Entry 17

A Conclusion of Colorful Resurrection – Entry 17

Will you lay on your death bed wishing that you had done something different with your life? When children are forced to murder their family, laugh at a severed head stuck on pole, eat a friend alive… and after it all find the courage to forgive, we must ask ourselves: “What are you NOT willing to risk to find inner freedom?” It was my pleasure to exchange a broken rib,

Mami Wata: Heal the Children of War Through Art: Entry 16

From Ashes to Life – Entry 16

Less than a decade ago mutilated dead bodies of Northern Uganda were dragged by the hundreds and thrown atop of one another into mass graves; however, when all feels lost in the abyss of hopelessness heroic flames of pure intention emerge to illuminate the damp, dark caves. The sickening pile of horrific sins stacked upon the womb of Mother Nature disintegrates one brushstroke at a time. Rather than corpses, this region now piles art,

Mami Wata: Heal the Children of War Through Art – Entry 15

A stitched in the heart of Africa – Entry 15

As the red dust of Eastern Africa levitates behind our Indian motorcycle, lightening rips through the approaching skies. An echo of white light, the seasonal mask shifts from sunshine to torrential downpour and the internal storm tearing through the colorless flesh, exposing the skeleton within the forgotten finger of humanity. After 27 kilometers of navigating through the red lakes, the captain of this arc on two wheels is the first to be swallowed by the dangerous conditions.

Mami Wata: Heal the Children of War Through Art – Entry 14

Forgiven But Not Forgotten – Entry 14

301 innocent souls were buried on top of one another in a mass grave after Kony brutally attacked the refugee camp of Borlonyo in 2004. Moses, the clan leader, was sadly not able to part the waters to save his people this time. With his eyes cast to the ground, his heart buried beneath the soil with loved ones, he shared with us the account of the horrific day where he himself lost 17 family members.