Art therapy workshops for people who have experienced serious mental illness
The “Artistic Portrait of Oneself” workshops at The Association for the Protection and Promotion of Mental Health Svitanje are regular art therapy workshops for people who have experienced or are experiencing serious mental illness. It is organised by NGO Svitanje and led by academy artist. It started as the CreArt project activity, an international artistic network launched in 2012.
Recognising that art therapy uses a creative process that exists in each individual to encourage growth, self-expression, emotional reparation, conflict resolution, gives meaning to life experiences and individuation, in 2012. artists from Croatian Association of Artists initiated the project “Art as Therapy” in collaboration with partner associations, Svitanje Association and “Sveti Ivan” Psychiatric hospital in Zagreb, as part of the “CreArt” network program, a network of cities for artistic creation. And following the project, art-therapy workshops are regularly held at the Svitanje Association, where users with the experience of serious mental illness are guided by Mercedes Bratoš, MA, to use their creativity in their recovery process.
CreArt network was an alliance consisting of 13 partners from Genova and Lecce (Italy), Clermont-Ferrand (France), Katowice and Lublin (Poland), Skopje (North Macedonia), Liverpool (United Kingdom), Kaunas (Lithuania), Zagreb (Croatia) and Aveiro (Portugal) under the coordination of Valladolid Municipal Foundation for Culture in coordinating new cultural practices through various cultural activities. One of the activities was a series of five project-based workshops, for five Association members. Their inner states and self-reference have been reflected in dry pastel, so that their emotions and traumas can be seen and used as memories or mental images that they otherwise might forget. Moreover, it can be used later in therapy, when they have to describe them verbally or in written format. These notes have been the workshop product as well. Selected works and notes have been shown at the finale of the project activity.
After the project, the workshops continued weekly.