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Meet the team: Kamal Naran

Meet our team member, assistant managing director, community art counsellor and training art therapist, Kamal Naran.

What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?

I am currently enrolled in the Art Therapy Honours programme at UJ, this has given me the opportunity to expand on my knowledge of the field and really delve deeper into the possibilities of what this field can provide and learning how to incorporate that into community work.

Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?

This is a tough question. I don’t know if there is just one person who has influenced me. I am very much an observer and sponge; I watch people who are in the field and just absorb their way of being in their professional setting and try to emulate that in my setting. I have been lucky to come across and work with many individuals who excel in their fields and I have had the privilege of watching them work. I really can’t single out an influence. I am always learning from everyone I get to work with.

What led you to this career?

Art counselling really combines two aspects of myself that feed my soul, art and helping others. Art has always been a medium that I used to express myself and a tool to communicate with. When I am creating art, I feel like the most authentic me. Lefika showed me how I can use this skill and what it means to me in a way that allowed me to be able to help others, to share its joys with others, and contribute to society in a way that feels authentic for me.

What’s one thing that surprised you about working at Lefika La Phodiso?

What surprised me about working at Lefika was that I got to see how resilient people, and especially children, can be. And how the creative process can hold such a powerful place in people’s hearts and minds.

What makes you happy? Angry?

Little things make me happy. I have learnt to appreciate and notice the small changes and so I get happy when I notice those things.

I think what makes me angry is when I see how big the gap is between those who have and those who don’t have, specifically around the education system and schools. Working in community work, I have come across so many children who have the thirst for education but are being let down by the system

What global or South African issues do you feel most passionate about?

I think globally the #Blacklivesmatter movement has really sparked some interesting and long overdue conversation and actions. For me, this movement has really caused a lot of people, including myself, to do so much self-reflection and learning and it has not been comfortable to face. I feel like we have collectively been shifted into this uncomfortable space and we need to be in that, and feel it and learn from it and understand our place in it and start shifting our thoughts and actions towards real change that is genuine.

How are you dealing/coping with the lockdown and restrictions?

With a lot of self reflection! There are a lot of ups and downs, feeling like this is all okay and I am coping, I am safe and healthy and then also feeling the sense of longing for some sort of normalcy to return.

What is the one thing that you’ve learned about yourself from Covid19?

That I am not so much of an introvert that I thought I was. I miss being around people and having people to be around. As much as I enjoy my own company, there is a part of me that does like having people around, not even people to talk, but just to be in the presence of.

Read more about Kamal.

Art by Kamal Naran

Follow Kamal Naran on Facebook here.
Visit his website here.

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