Art as Therapy with WomenStrong DC: Part 3 of 3
Written on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 1:17 pm by Elton Johnson in Client stories, Community
“Art as Therapy” with WomenStrong DC (WSDC) documents the results of a five-week Self-Portrait Silhouette Workshop where the women of WSDC, under the guidance of teaching artists Lana Wong and Sabreena Jeru-Ahmed, used their creative talents to discuss powerful personal issues.
Here is part three of the series:
Renee Sakinah Figgers
Bob Marley said: “Love the life you live and live the life you love”, and I do. I’ve been doing it for 66 years. I put it at the bottom of this piece and used it as the theme for this whole artwork.
I wouldn’t say this artwork is a documentation of my life, because I decided to concentrate only on the good experiences. I would say it’s documentation of all the memorable experiences in my life that I think deserve to be preserved. That includes, as you can see, no men; there are only women in this art piece.
I’ve been a teacher, a dancer and a big sister. I showed my interest in the arts with my pictures as a dancer. I started dancing professionally when I became a wedding dancer years ago. I also included a photo of my mother when she was 13. It’s a photo of her around a piano. She trained to be a concert pianist, but that all stopped when she got married and we came into the picture.
One of the experiences I chose to document was my once in a lifetime trip to Africa. I always wanted to go to Africa and, through a friend, I got the opportunity to visit Egypt, see the pyramids, and ride on a camel. I spent five days and six nights there and it was a beautiful experience.
I feel comfortable in open spaces, connecting with nature, especially when I’m in the middle of America and I see an expanse of stars. When I look at the sky I feel free and so I included that. I used blue as the color in the backdrop and put stars and clouds back there because those are some of my favorite things.
I used black and white for my silhouette because it stands out more. Previously, when I did art classes, I used to love black and white. Black and white allows me to bring out more and it’s more appealing to me. I don’t really call myself an artist but I like all kinds of art–drawing, photography, and I also write.
I didn’t want my silhouette to be one piece, I wanted it to have lots of different elements of art that I like come together to show a bit of who I am.
I put the scripture, ‘No weapon formed against me shall prosper’ because I like that scripture. I added one of my poems that I think best describes me; it’s called “The silence of a loud cry.” I also lost my child and so I wanted to carve out a space here for him underneath a rainbow with lightning and rain pouring. My baby’s name is Julius Sinclair Barclay James. He was supposed to be born on Valentine’s Day but I lost him on January 17, just a month before.
I like glasses, but I drew the glasses on my face like a superhero mask because I also like superheroes. I love butterflies because they are calming and peaceful so I used those too. I had my hair in a nice cut and I used to carry my pick around and you can see all of that there. I put wings on myself ‘cause I believe I don’t have any burdens on my shoulder anymore. Once I keep my wings flapping I’m fine.
*Bread for the City’s WomenStrong DC is a proud member of WomenStrong International (WSI), a consortium of non-profit organizations in five nations supporting women-led solutions to urban poverty.*
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