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Orphans turn to art as a form of therapy

Exhibition showcases work by ‘Da Vinci’s Children’

By Muath Freij - Nov 13,2016 - Last updated at Nov 13,2016

A visitor checks artwork on display at Foresight Gallery in Amman on Sunday (Photo by Muath Freij)

AMMAN — Although Wafaa Khalil did not know how to paint, the idea of participating in psychological art therapy appealed to her.

The 21-year-old orphan said that when she took part in art therapy sessions offered recently by the Kaynouna Art Therapy Centre, she felt more comfortable. 

“I did not need to talk to people because I could express my feelings through creating paintings,” she told The Jordan Times.

Artworks by Khalil and several other Jordanian orphans are on display at a three-day exhibition at Foresight Gallery in Amman that opened Saturday.

The exhibition is a window into an art therapy project, sponsored by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation and organised in partnership with Al Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans, that targeted orphans of different ages and mothers working at care centres, according to Shireen Yaish, the founder of Kaynouna Art Therapy Centre.

“This exhibition showcases the work done during the sessions. It is a way to make Jordanians aware of the problems and challenges of orphans,” she told The Jordan Times at the exhibition’s opening ceremony on Saturday evening.

The exhibition, titled “Da Vinci’s Children”, showcases around 80 paintings where artists shed light on their challenges.

“I was afraid that the idea of art therapy would not be accepted by the Jordanian society, but on the contrary, it was embraced,” Yaish said.

The art therapy specialist said the centre was established five years ago.

“In the beginning, Jordanians did not understand what the role of art was in psychological therapy, but then people liked it and they were curious to see its impact and volunteer to practise it,” she added.

She noted that the therapy offered at the centre targets Syrian and Palestinian refugees, and any Jordanians suffering from trauma or stress.

Laila Emad, 18, another participating artist, said she wanted — through her art — to making people aware of the importance of caring for children so that they do not suffer from hardships. 

Protecting children protects the future of society, she noted.

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