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Art Conversations

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International Elimination of Violence Against Women

Have you experienced violence? Yes. What was done to you? Where would you like me to begin? I have a bullet wound in my skull, traumatic brain trauma from too many blows and too many nearly dead dances with explosions, a knife wound on my chin, a nose broken, arms, legs, ribs all broken at some time or other, feet all with odd clicks and bone spurs from breaks, both arms routinely fall out of their sockets because not enough ligaments or muscle are left to keep them in place… That doesn’t answer what was done, only the result. When did you receive these injuries? Throughout my childhood and early adulthood. What man did this to you? Men and women did this to me. Who? About 500,000 various fighters across five countries would happily have chopped me into tiny pieces as a child, African wars are a bit like that.…

2017 Remembrance Day Veteran’s Day Connections Giveaway

Every year I try to do something, a small gesture of gratitude, for those who have given all for their country, for others.  This is a particularly significant time of the year for me; it often cripples me such that I find it hard to communicate much for the week after, this year was no different and in some ways, worse. My idea this year was to change the narrative on trauma and survival.  Rather than asking others to tell their stories of horror and trauma, I asked to hear stories of survival and reconnecting. Isolation and alienation are the two most dangerous feelings in the world. They are, I believe, at the root of mass shootings, suicides, a lot of mental health issues and auto-immune challenges. I was going to have one “winner”.  The stories of courage, strength, survival I received left me floored, literally: I may have fainted…

Honey Badger & Baboons: a modern day parable

The honey badger sat outside her den, behind her the lion lay wounded and bleeding.  His cubs were close by as were her own two honey badgerly kits.  She watched as the fat baboon approached, with its sloping waddle and bright pink bum displaying a gentle sheen of sweat in the African mid-day sun. The honey badger didn’t move.  Didn’t speak.  Simply watched. The baboon hunched low and took a massive poop.  Picked up her poop and slung it at the honey badger.  Laughing, cackling and screaming, the baboon pranced around the patch of veld in front of the honey badger’s home where she sat blocking access to her strange little family. The next day the baboon returned with another baboon.  The baboon’s mother.  They both scrunched down in the red African sand, took massive poops and slung it at the honey badger.  The honey badger said nothing.  The honey…

How to handle your Child’s Back to School Blues

Have heard from a lot of parents struggling to deal with their child’s return to school.  Often classes are mixed up, best friends split up, it can be a very difficult time, especially if your child suffers from anxiety. IT’S OKAY FOR YOUR CHILD TO EXPERIENCE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS One thing I come across far too often in my art classes are pre-teens who are lost.  As children hit 12 and 13 their hormones hit, it is the precursor to High School with all its challenges and, frankly, emotional hardships, those who have been protected from experiencing fear, loneliness, anger, frustration, rage … are utterly lost.  They lack the resilience to deal with the challenges of pre-teens: they are the ones who will follow sheeplike any “leader” in their peers.  They seek external solutions to internal problems. Those that have been permitted to suffer as little kids, and middle school students,…