Although slightly commercial, the following video is inspiring and tells a great story of how art can be used to heal and help others around the world. The video is about Exile International and their efforts to help former child soldiers in Uganda, Africa through the use of art and creativity. They shipped a large tablet/touch-screen computer to also utilize and engage in digital art therapy. The video does not state whether a professional art therapist was on site or not, but as you can see in the video, it seems to have at least brought some joy and excitement to these kids’ lives…and hopefully aided in some healing too! Either way, it’s a short inspirational video that you should definitely watch!
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Uganda, Africa – Digital Art Therapy with Exile International
Video Transcript of Digital Art Therapy in Africa
I’ve been an artist all my life. I’ve drawn and it’s always been therapeutic for me. But I just recently heard of art therapy…I’ve never known much about it. And when I heard that Exile International was doing art therapy it made me very curious because the way I draw, even as an adult, is very child-like. And so when I heard they were doing art therapy with former child soldiers, I immediately asked them if I could come to Africa with them and do art with these kids.
So we’re here in LRA Uganda this week. We have brought a Cintiq 24 HD Touch all the way around the world in its beat up broken down box.
Very first day we sat down with all 40 kids and they drew the past and what they had to go through, and then they drew the future. When they were drawing the past, you saw lots of helicopters, you saw lots of blood and you saw bullets. And it just goes to show the details that are still in their mind literally coming out on paper. We have sat down with 9 people – 7 kids and 2 adults – and we’ve taught them how to draw on the Cintiq. They’re drawing the pains of their past, the dreams of their future, and it has been amazing to see them draw and to tell their story.
And what’s amazing about this is things that come out in the art are often times things that don’t come out when they talk. And so we’re literally seeing their stories come to life through the art where they might not have with just interviewing them and talking with them. It truly is just so therapeutic for them to express all these thoughts…the past, the future. But I especially love seeing them draw their future because literally as they’re looking at their screen, drawing what they want to do in the future, they smile…the come to life. And so you can tell that this really is a healing process for them.
We thought we’d just be doing a little project, but we really have seen healing taking place. The kids, even from day 1 to day 7, they’re just different.
I don’t think there’s anything more inspiring than seeing these kids be redeemed and be renewed again through this art therapy process. And it’s cool because it’s the first time the LRA victims, these former child soldiers, have been able to use such creative technology to tell their own story. We’ve really amplified their voices, amplified their story. I couldn’t have done it without the Cintiq..it’s been really inspiring.
The dream is to create one piece for each child that tells their whole story and enable more kids to go through this program and more kids to be healed through the art therapy and through what Exile International is doing.