Every child in our class is a “Slumdog Millionair”. They were not waiting around to win the lottery to get out of the slums, they earned their smiles by making a choice in life! They choose to find happiness regardless of the outside circumstances that are out of their control. They are millionaires of love! You can feel it in their joy and see it in their art! This last week the youth drew their designs, made their mosaics and painted their backgrounds without anyone telling them they cannot do something.
At the Surat airport in Western India Robert Markey and I were welcomed by Sagar and his incredible team from the NGO Pathshala NGO; a group of young adults who are “fighting against a ticking clock” to bring as much beauty into the world and into the hearts of the underrepresented youth as possible, before the pressures from society and family push them into marriage and the traditional lifestyle. These courageous volunteers of Pathshala work every day to plant the seeds of change,
Welcome To My House – Music/Art Video: Luc & the Lovingtons + Voices of the Children
Time and time again the real art happens in the now! In Za’atari Refugee Camp we were reminded that every moment there is a new choice, and in that choice, and if we listen, the brilliance of each moment burns bright. Nothing was guaranteed on our journey into the Middle East to film the first leg of the “Welcome to my House”
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: “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 – “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 – 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,
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.
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,
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,