Artist Shan Re believes art therapy is transformative

When Bengaluru-based contemporary artist and art therapist Shan Re conducted an art therapy session on social media recently, she was surprised at the healthy turn out. “This is the perfect time for art — there is a captive audience and art is good way to tackle stress and anxiety arising out of being cooped up for days on end,” says Shan. “I am happy to use art as a tool to process emotions.”

Shan’s therapy sessions address self-regulation, rehabilitation and emotional wellbeing. “Art cannot heal serious mental disorders. A deep engagement with art, however, helps in self-discovery. If you know your inner conflicts, you heal better. Art therapy is transformative.”

Shan, whose work straddles several mediums, did not study art. “Art has always been a part of my life since my childhood. Eventually it became my profession.” Shan’s work includes drawings, paintings, sculpture, installations and poetry. Shan often uses nature as a metaphor in her paintings, which are mainly acrylic.

“I feel like the personification of spring. Through my work I try to achieve harmony between abstract language and an energetic flow of colours.” Shan’s work has been exhibited widely in India and abroad. Her artwork finds pride of place in various private collections in India including the Bangalore Palace and around the world in London, Amsterdam, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Oslo and Berlin. “My most popular series is The Window to Himalayas. It is a doorway to higher states of consciousness.”

Shan’s journey started in 2000 after a “near-death experience” when she tripped and fell on her face. She was in coma for a while due to internal haemorrhage of her retina. Her face was disfigured. “It took three weeks to heal. Gradually I diverted my energies into drawing and painting and the transition helped me discover my true potential as an artist.”

There was a time when Shan could not afford art supplies. “I started doing free association drawings, which were well received by international collectors. I believe that magic happens when you don’t give up.”

Shan learnt to stay calm in every situation, and that is what she wants to give back society. “We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to events. By applying a variety of creative approaches we can bring in new coping strategies.”

Shan says participating in her sessions, “does not require artistic experience or talent, just a creative bent of mind.” Shan thought of helping people with live therapy and artistic sessions before COVID-19 took over the world. “To help people kill time

creatively, I came up with an adult colouring book, Creative Meditation with Colours.” The book features 18 original art works by Shan. “Colouring has therapeutic benefits and is popular with adults all over the world.” The book also has Shan’s poetry. “I always loved poetry. As one colours, I thought one could also read the verses to establish the tone.”

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 7:36:25 AM |

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