Just before the school year started, my husband and I took our 2 boys to New York City for a quick 3 night visit. We walked in Central Park, saw Hamilton on Broadway, and made plans to walk the Brooklyn Bridge.
On our way to the Brooklyn Bridge, we decided to get off at the World Trade Centre Subway Station, without plans to spend too much time there. The last time my husband and I had been there, was a few years after 9/11 and we saw the giant hole in the ground. We were curious to see how the place had been transformed.
I really wasn’t expecting to have an emotional reaction, but then we encountered this.
You can’t hear it from this photo, but if you look closely you see that each side is a waterfall. The entire ledge along the perimeter was covered in the names of those who died. And in that moment I started to cry.
Sometimes a piece of art or architecture captures something so perfectly, that words aren’t needed. Nothing needs to be explained or said.
Growing up, my parents took us to a variety of art galleries, and this tradition is something I’ve continued with my kids. It’s always interesting to see what pieces they’re attracted to. Even better if it’s a place that kids can actually touch or interact with the artwork. When they were little, we’d just ask them to look for the weirdest piece they could find.
When we lived in the south of France for 2017, we had access to all kinds of art. We enjoyed taking them to the Louvre (bonus it was in January and it was warm inside) and they wondered why the Mona Lisa was so famous. We took them to a Contemporary Art museum in Nice and had lots of interesting conversation over the broad range of art. And there were also places we took our kids that they had zero appreciation for any of the art and were happy to be done and eat some ice cream or visit a park.
Here’s a photo of a piece that we saw while walking the many paths of Venice, Italy.
This piece about climate change by Lorenzo Quinn, doesn’t need much explanation.
Recently on Netflix I’ve been enjoying the docu-series Abstract. It gives you 45 minutes a piece with 12 different artists. So far I’ve enjoyed seeing how Ilse Crawford presences well-being with her interior design. She creates spaces that allow individuals to feel relaxed without realizing why they might all of a sudden feel that way. Olafur Eliasson talks about his pleasure creating large-scale abstract art that can be experienced with little to no explanation.
Art As Part of the Process In Healing
Sometimes as a psychotherapist, there are times when presence is the most impactful thing I can give a person as they process something deep within themselves. This post is an invitation to explore art as another avenue to experience healing. It’s a way to be present with feelings a piece of art evokes in you.
And I’m not even saying you need to create any art – it’s more about going out into the world and interacting or being present with some art. Contemporary art galleries are wonderful – they will bring out irritation at some pieces “This is art?” and sometimes you’ll find something that captures something so much more. Kids are great at telling you what they think about a piece too. Art is everywhere – have you looked around your neighbourhood? What kind of art are you surrounded by?
Visiting the 9/11 memorial spoke volumes to me. Art has a way of capturing wonder, grief, playfulness, well-being, and so much more.
Have you ever seen a piece of art that moved you?