Continuing with our “Inspiring Others to Create” motto, we’re very happy to announce our first Featured Art Therapist: Tricia Ong. As you might recall, this month’s Featured Artist was Miwa Matreyek. Keeping in style with our interesting and fun approach to an interview, we’ve got some great Q&A below with Tricia! You’ll also find a gallery of images from Tricia as well. Enjoy, and please leave Tricia a comment below 🙂
Featured Interview With Tricia Ong
1a. Can you give the readers a bio about who you are, where you’re from, what you do, etc?
I am Tricia Ong. I am a creative arts therapist from Melbourne, Australia. I undertook my master degree at R.M.I.T. University. I work with women with chronic illnesses and issues in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology – endometriosis, ovarian cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and women undergoing IVF treatment. Prior to this, I worked with children and their families in child care and hospital play therapy.
1b. Can you talk about your work with women, and specifically the support you provide women with endometriosis? (How you decided to get into this field, etc)
I specialize in providing support for women with endometriosis, which is personally-driven. I have had endometriosis, and lived in isolation with it for a long time. I realize, looking back, that support, and particularly from other women who have it, really helps women to cope. This sense of isloation related to living with chronic illness informs my work. I run workshops for small groups of women (4-6) and we engage in writing and art across all client groups.(The number is specific – it enables an intimate space for sharing related to ‘delicate’ women’s gynaecological issues.)
I have also almost completed the “Endometriosis: Online Arts Project”, which is about to culminate in an exhibition at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne.
In 2009, I seeded a grant for an 8-week art support project for women with endometriosis, and I am in the process of seeding a new grant for a project for women with endometriosis for 2011- in partnership with Melbourne women’s health organisation. (Wish us luck and good measure! It’s a dynamic initiative for the endometriosis – and creative arts therapy – fields!)
2. Describe yourself in 5 words.
Adventurous. Sensitive. Contemplative. Witty. Passionate.
3. If 3 of your best friends were hanging out with you, what’s one thing they’d all jokingly make fun of you for?
Definitely my ‘offbeat’ sense of humour!
4. What are you passionate about? This can be work-related, personal, whatever you would like to share.
Endometriosis: making a difference to women who suffer from it, and finding unique ways to create community awareness of it.
5. Is art, or the process of creating art, therapeutic for you in any way? If so, could you provide a recent example?
Writing is always ‘in the frame’. It helps me to consolidate my thoughts, and I often arrive at ‘new awakenings’ through my written work. One such example – recent – is that I was writing a professional article about endometriosis, and I found myself describing how ‘healing’ it had been for me to have gone from being an endometriosis sufferer, to being well, to helping other women with endometriosis. Innately, I was aware of this feeling, but documenting it on paper enabled me to validate that feeling.
The letters of the alphabet are my ‘art’ images! I often write on the computer, and I ALWAYS play around with different fonts and colours!!! My choices are very mood-driven!
6. How has art influenced your perception of life?
It shapes my daily life – from the way I stir sugar into my coffee in the mornings, to the way I tuck my doona in around me at night. I see art – and the beauty of art – in everything.
7. What are some other things or people that inspire/motivate you?
Joan of Arc for her strength. Mother Teresa of Calcutta for her humility. Ellen de Generes for her spontaneity, and her uncanny ability to make people laugh! Nature for its ability to transform my mood.
8. Do you believe creativity is an innate quality? Please explain.
Yes, but I believe people express it differently.
9. What are some wise words or advice you would like to offer people reading this?
Take risk. Make time for family – and friends. Eat cake.
10. You have been selected to go on an all expenses paid vacation with 3 people you’ve never met (dead or alive). Who is going on vacation with you and where?
The Dalai Lama, Sorrel Wilby – an Australian photojournalist – and Sir Edmund Hilary and I are trekking to the top of Mt. Everest to have conversations about life, the universe and everything.
SPEED ROUND – Quick questions with quick answers. Ready, go!
What is your favorite food?
Roti chanai – thanks to my husband!
If you could be one animal, which one would you be?
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
An invisibility shield.
Where on the world wide web can we learn more about you?
Facebook and LinkedIn