A series of art and wellbeing sessions, led by mental health community development worker, Roya Pourali, have been engaging women and children from BME communities in Barnsley in artistic activity.
The sessions, which were run weekly, taught 21 women and a man from nine different communities how to express themselves creatively through drawing and painting.
During the two hour sessions, Roya taught the attendees a new technique for painting and art craft, which she has developed herself, so that even those in the group who had never painted before, were able to learn how to paint and produce art they were confident to exhibit at the end of the project.
Davoud Moghaddary, who took part in the project and then delivered some of the sessions with Roya, explained, “This project has had a massive impact on my life. I was isolated and I felt I was useless. I used to think nobody cared for me but through this project, I have had the opportunity to meet others, learn a new skill, painting, and share my skills with others by teaching them how to paint on a mirror.
“By leading the sessions I have learnt how to communicate with others better, how to listen to people and how to be useful in a professional way.
“I’d like to thank Creative Minds and the project manager Roya for giving me the opportunity to find out more about myself, learn something new and teach others my skills.
“Ultimately this project had a very positive impact on my wellbeing; I feel happy, worth something and it has helped a lot with my recovery from mental health problems.”
The sessions also offer the opportunity to explore the variety of cultures in the group and encourage participants to gain an understanding of each other, therefore forming bridges between cultural groups.
As women participate in the sessions, children who have attended with them are led through their own activities including sand play, modelling and painting.
The artwork produced during these sessions by the group was proudly displayed during the Creative Minds Live event in Barnsley in November 2012.