Healing through art: Young trauma victims create artworks at Nayong Pilipino site

March 27, 2023 - 6:47 PM
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This March 23, 2023 photo shows the art therapy session for domestic abuse victims at the Nayong Pilipino Foundation property (Nayong Pilipino Foundation/Released)

Trigger Warning: The article mentions domestic abuse

Young girls who survived domestic abuse were given a chance to express their feelings and heal through art.

Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) on March 23 launched an art therapy activity for these girls who are currently residing at a rehabilitation center in Rizal.

This initiative is in line with the celebration of National Women’s Month this March.

It took place at the foundation’s property in Parañaque City. This area in front of Okada Manila was previously used as a quarantine and vaccination facility at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

NPF partnered with Tahanan ng Sta. Luisa, a crisis intervention center in Antipolo, Rizal, for the event called “Paghilom: A Healing Activity through Art and Nature.”

It was also part of its “Nayon for Healing Campaign.” Launched in 2021, this campaign was initially aimed to improve the mental and emotional well-being of COVID-19 patients and staff stationed at the property.

This time, NPF plans to help other partner organizations with the same goal.

Here are photos of the setup and the location of the art exhibit at the NPF Parañaque facility.

The students were given free art materials in a space surrounded by trees.

(Catalina Ricci Madarang/Interaksyon)
(Catalina Ricci Madarang/Interaksyon)

Photos of the art therapy session were also uploaded on NPF’s Facebook page. The identities of the art participants were not disclosed for privacy and safety.

The event was facilitated by a licensed art therapist named Sweet Remandaban, a member of the University of the Philippines-Diliman Psychological Services (UPD PsycServ).

To engage the girls’ participation, Remandaban conducted different activities that combined the creation of their artworks and a sharing period.

They created the following three types of art:

  • Watercolor painting
  • Sculpture and painting
  • Magazine collage

Here are photos of some of their works:

(Nayong Pilipino Foundation/Released)
(Nayong Pilipino Foundation/Released)
(Nayong Pilipino Foundation/Released)

Tahanan Sta. Luisa is currently accepting donations and welcoming volunteers at their place.

Those who wish to donate can send their donations here Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse – GlobalGiving.

They may also donate goods or supplies at the center’s address here: Block 3 Lot 13 Golden Hills Subdivision, San Roque, Antipolo, Rizal 1870.

Learn more about how to get involved with volunteer social work through their website here Get Involved – Tahanan Sta Luisa.

Art therapy for trauma recovery

In an interview with Interaksyon, Remandaban explained how art therapy is an effective tool in trauma recovery.

“Art therapy helps because it’s a medium na parang no judgment e, talagang nilalabas mo lang di ba? Tapos walang structure, walang format. Madali siyang mailabas minsan compared to words,” she said.

The therapist further noted that: “Kada kulay, kada guhit may meaning yun e.”

Remandaban also pointed out the importance for victims to be given a safe space where they can express themselves without the fear of being judged and being near their abusers.

“A safe space is a place wherein everything is kept confidential. A safe space is [one] wherein you are not judged. Importante yung isang lugar, isang tao, isang medium na mailabas yung pinagdaanan. So safe space is very important and therapy is very important,” she said.

When asked about her thoughts on the mental health situation in the Philippines, Remandaban said that there is still a lot to be done on mental health awareness of trauma victims.

For Remandaban, this is where social work comes in.

“Social work is very important. Pero sa Pilipinas, ano lang siya e…hindi talaga napagtutuunan ng pansin,” the therapist said.

“Mga bata na nasa streets are already in a way deprived. How much more yung mga batang inabuso?” she added.