Picture Me...on a good day.
This is a community arts initiative that aims to provide a free service at point of contact for children and young people with severe or terminal illness. Working within the Health service and focussing on, but not limited to, those in palliative care.
As a practicing professional community artist I have been using portraiture as part of my engagement with young people of all ages to great success. I have worked with young offenders in and out of prison and young people inside the care system and I have worked with people with terminal illness within the context of the Marie Curie centre. (Penarth)
The profound power of spending time with a young person and drawing their portrait has been the foundation of many of my creative engagements. It allows the process of confidence building, trust and imagination to grow. This process can provide a time of positive reflection and allow a sense of value and self worth for the sitter. This has proven to have a significant positive medical impact on those suffering from chronic and terminal illness specifically. Whilst working within the Marie Curie Hospice I was involved in much discussion with staff around the benefits of increasing imagination and positive reflection and how this relates to the physical body: allowing it to work more compatibly with the medicinal regime of palliative care.
Much discussion and training was also had in regards to the exit strategy of any creative intervention. Obviously great care must always be taken when working in these environments to ensure adequate lead-in time is allowed for sensitive preparation and also that there is a monitored exit strategy after the creative engagement has happened.
The positive impact of a well-managed creative encounter for the children/young people described above can be profound. However this is a creative engagement that is very much about family members, friends and staff as part of the process. All those involved will be playing a part in the portrait experience and should be left with a positive encounter and a physical legacy.
Please visit Picture Me - Media to see and hear the music video Living On Concrete inspired by previous work with patients at a South Wales hospice.
Please visit Picture Me to find out more about how Picture Me works and how to support this creative initiate.