Intersecting Paths: Art & Healing
In Judaism we talk about the renewal of body and the renewal of spirit for those in need of healing. The MiSheberach prayer is said to offer healing for the body (r’fuat ha-guf) and spirit (r’fuat ha-nefesh). The artists in Intersecting Paths: Art & Healing have taken the concept of spiritual healing, and found avenues through creativity to work towards finding strength to face challenges in their lives, and to give strength to others in need of healing. In giving themselves room to heal, by producing art, they have changed their lives and the lives of others. Each of the artists represents a different aspect of creative expression, and each has a unique story to tell.
The artwork in the exhibition is about finding hope, comfort and inspiration. It is about the ability of artists to use their creativity to keep themselves and others from feeling isolated. Artistic expression provides an outlet for letting go of pain, and to find ways of moving forward in life. It is about making meaning out of what cannot always be explained, and to keep the spirit of the individual from crumbling away. How does the human spirit turn from despair and vulnerability to finding ways to heal the mind, heal the spirit and grow in the process? This exhibition lays the groundwork for discussing this intersection between art and healing.
The exhibition salutes the twelve artists who have shared their stories of finding meaning and purpose in their lives through creating art. For several of the artists the artwork they set out to create was intended to offer comfort and healing to others, but in the end came back to help them with their own healing, when they were in crisis. Another group of the artists found that the only way to cling to their belief in Judaism was to turn to their art when it felt that they had become isolated and invisible in the community. Through all of their journeys they explored ways to initiate the process of healing, of becoming whole again, and to understanding how to reach out to others. They found a way to have their voices heard and in some cases have become the voices for those forgotten.
Many of the stories are what appear at first glance to be perceived as uncommon situations, but in reality are not so uncommon. Today, our lives have become more complicated, and the issues impacting the community are more complex and diverse. Art presents an opportunity to create meaningful contributions towards healing the spirit on many levels, and in doing so provides a path for moving forward in life. The exhibition is about finding meaning, purpose and the resiliency to heal from what life hands us. Art becomes a key player in defining ways for the healing of body, and the healing of spirit in all of our lives.
Intersecting Paths: Art & Healing is sponsored by the Kalsman Institute on Judaism & Health (of HUC-JIR), and Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles with support from the Enhancement Committee of the College. Thank you to The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation for support of this catalog and exhibition.
Image: Hamsa, Vicki Reikes Fox, 2010