Art as Therapy

Art as Therapy

Lockdown – it’s been a tricky time. Some are over worked and busier than ever, others are literally sitting on their hands waiting to be allowed out and then there is everyone in between. It’s not possible to generalise as there are so many different experiences of this extended hibernation where we have had to learn to live and love differently.

Some will have been touched by Covid-19 directly and may have lost loved ones in recent months with grief being compounded by not being able to say goodbye or have a traditional funeral. If this is you or someone you know, then this blog is for you.

Seven Functions of Art

In Alain de Botton’s book, Art as Therapy, he discusses what he calls the seven functions of art. He names them as follows:

1.       Remembering – this is where art triggers memory – it is not the accurate rendition that is important here but the meaning. This is psychology rather than history. Art lets us hold onto what we love. We can’t hold the passage of time but we can hold art.

2.       Hope – we can look to art for encouragement. If the world was a kinder place perhaps we would be less moved by art? Alongside hope sits resilience.

3.       Sorrow – when our sorrow meets art or when we see grief in art we can become better equipped to deal with it because we can see it in the larger platform of life.

4.       Rebalancing – a work of art helps return to us the missing portions of our characters. Since we are not all missing the same things, the art that has the capacity to rebalance us will also be different.

5.       Self-understanding – we don’t see ourselves objectively. When we find ourselves moved by a specific artwork we can gather insights into who we are.

6.       Growth – art presents us with unfamiliar viewpoints and therefore expands our understanding.

7.       Appreciation – here art brings us back to our values so that the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

In these seven points de Botton is talking about the function of viewing art. The same can be said of making art. Whether you are viewing or making art, art has intrinsic therapeutic value. 

In this the tenth anniversary of Daniel’s death and during this time of hibernation, the team at DBAF have put together art packs to give to the vulnerable or those with a life limiting condition. You can help us bring the therapeutic power of art to more people by sponsoring these art packs. Please click here to find out more.