When I finished secondary school back in the late 90es and wasn’t allowed to continue my education thanks to my refugee status in Switzerland, the only thing that kept me surviving the following years was my love for art. Drawing and painting helped me through difficult times, especially between 1995 and 1998.
When you do research about “Art and Therapy” these days, you find all kinds of Art therapy programs. It helps children and adults to explore their emotions, improve self-esteem, manage addictions, relieve stress, improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, and cope with a physical illness or disability.
Back in my days, there was no internet, so I didn’t have the possibilities and access to today’s world of art and the world of therapy. The only way to heal was self-therapy. As I know today Art-making is a common activity used by many people to cope with illness. Art and the creative process can alleviate many illnesses (cancer, heart disease, influenza, etc.). This form of therapy helps benefit those who suffer from mental illnesses as well (chronic depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, etc.).
Often people (especially teenagers) cannot express the way they feel, as it can be difficult to put it into words, and art can help people express their experiences. During art therapy, people can explore past, present , and future experiences using art as a form of coping. Art can be a refuge for the intense emotions associated with illness; there are no limits to the imagination in finding creative ways to express emotions. And that’s what I did with these two powerful drawings back in 1996 when I felt helpless and worthless. I was young, active, ambitious, and full of creative ideas, but wasn’t allowed to do anything besides drawing.
In my personal opinion and experience stopping young and creative people from growing because of their nationality, race and paper is a crime. It is irresponsible, selfish, and thoughtless because it is an emotional and mental suicide!
As you see in my two drawings (original size: 50x70 cm), I was emotionally and physically so sick, that my only solution and escape was death! I had no energy left to fight against the refugee law that makes it impossible to improve and to find independence and happiness in your new country, where you are tolerated but not accepted and included.