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Community Art Counselling

Like most (all) people I have Covid fatigue and am zoomed-out. Oh to be in a room with real people who don’t say: “Can you hear me?” I wasn’t particularly looking forward to spending three hours, on a cold winter’s day, huddled under a blanket staring at a group of strangers on Zoom. However, I’d been invited by a friend to attend a Lefika introduction to a community arts counselling session, so I put on my zoom-lipstick and joined.

There were about six other participants in the Zoom room and two lovely facilitators, Rozanne Myburgh and Kate Shand. They introduced themselves and then the fun started. We all had to draw a picture to introduce ourselves to the group. People then shared their images on the screen and we discussed the process. Kate commented on how interesting it was, that while we were all working at home, there was a commonality in our colours and shapes.

And here’s the thing: pre-Covid it may have taken longer to connect with each other, but the pandemic is, bizarrely enough, an equaliser. Equally binding, was a taciturn understanding that the world needs healing spaces.

For the next exercise we had to create a piece of group art using the shared Zoom whiteboard. It was easy enough to add my own pink dot to the “canvas”, but when it came to joining up with other people’s shapes it was, at first, curiously daunting. It was interesting listening to the other people’s experiences afterwards. Our little dots, triangles, hearts and squiggles all meant something, both individually and collectively.

The session concluded with a general discussion about what the course entailed and the practicalities involved. We then said goodbye, I turned off my computer, but, without even realising it, remained connected to that space.

I have never expressed my creativity in the kitchen, but the day after the session I wanted to cook something different, to use the ingredients in a creative way.

A week later, it was time to send out WhatsApp greetings for the Jewish New Year. Instead of downloading a stock image, I started ripping up pieces of paper and adding paint. This was not a work of art at all, but it was a way of expressing my hopes for a happier new year, with a magic wand: a paintbrush!

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