Happytime and the expressive arts therapist Amber Chan recently designed a four-session expressive art creation class for the elderly in the H.K.S.K.H. Wong Tai Sin District Elderly Community Centre. In the course, the elderly created and designed their own paper boats on the map. The class named "Boat Journey", was created to expresses their hope and exploration for the future.
Sally(not her real name) used colored wrinkle tape to paste a tree that she had encountered in childhood, which was covered with harmful insects. Another team member trimmed a person beside the flower tree, pointed at the insect and acted out, "Be careful!”. She embodied the character and re-shaped the experience of Sally’s childhood, witnessing the incident and providing metaphoric providing a metaphoric support. Several team members built a bridge that resembled the Tsing Ma Bridge so that everyone’s boat could pass by. Some team members reorganized the Tap Mun camping area and the unlicensed barbecue site that the news recently focused on.
The "Boat Journey" provides a safe and free space for the team members to express their feelings about what they have noticed, and also to give back and understand everyone's common concerns and future life plans. The following is the response of some participants:
👍A lot of fun, thank you instructor for leading this fun activity!
👍It's fun to be able to pretend as other characters. It turns out that I can act and move with a wide range.
👍I found out the talent of some familiar members which I have never known!
👍I found that the paper sculpture of another team member was very creative, cutting a traditional hollow gate which is very delicate.
The social worker Tongtong who participated together also said: "Amber leads with a good atmosphere, the elderly have a good time, and they have more hope for life."
In many experiences of expressive art groups for the elderly, Amber observed a very interesting phenomenon: at the beginning, she often heard them saying "I don't know much about this" or "I'm not good at this". Through the process, their creations often make people astonished that the expression in the artwork is so rich; some even integrate their past expertise or their views to the world. The key is whether the therapist can pay attention to their feelings and thoughts, and express the words that have not yet been spoken.
After they finished the creation, Amber often smiled and told them: “You always say you don’t know what to do , but at the end what you did is amazing!” Other members also discovered the unique beauty in the creation. They finally found out: "Yeah, it's so nice to watch!"
Helping the elderly to express their passion for life in art , witnessing and recognising the beauty and emotional investment in creation are her goals and key points that she often reminds herself as a therapist in the work of the elderly~
Happytime sincerely thanks Amber and Ms. Tongtong for their leadership. The "Boat Journey"⛵️ brought some good memories and visions to the students, and also marked a perfect end for them in 2021. 😃
Pick up a piece of paper to make a boat
Slowly put on the water
Meditatively close your eyes and make a wish
The boat hurrying away...
Want to learn more about expressive art creation course materials:https://www.happytime.live/eng/expressive-arts/