~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

Art and Creativity as Mediums for Empowerment , Connection and Change…

Archive for the ‘Warrior Women’ Category

Shirley- Big Heart Big Smile

Posted by carolom on June 6, 2008

Relationships change and friendships come and go. Family is not always defined by those who swim in the same gene pool and although many years have passed since Shirley and I were in close and regular contact, when we get together those years melt into the ether…

Shirley has a big heart and has walked a big journey. She is a Woman who is never happier than when she is surrounded by family and friends and laughter.

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Posted in Aboriginal, Afghan, Elders, Family, Friendships, Fun, Journeys, Relationships, Warrior Women | 1 Comment »

Mandala

Posted by carolom on May 9, 2008

I made this Empowerment Mandala for our discussion on “Boundaries” in the women’s group…..

Each participant has a black and white copy as a way of ‘kick starting creativity and the use of symbols as an alternative to talk, talk, talk therapy……

Posted in Art, Change, Creativity, Family, Imagination, Journeys, Lifes Stories, Mandalas, Men and Women, Mind Power, Oneness, Power of Focus, Prosperity, Shamanic, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, Spirituality, The Art of Change, Warrior Women, Women | Leave a Comment »

Oxfam ‘Fancy Stitch’ exhibition- African Women affected by HIV / Aids…

Posted by carolom on November 17, 2007

I went to an exhibition of the Fancy Stitch project yesterday, an Oxfam funded initiative “inspiring women in rural South Africa to learn new skills and generate an income with a needle and thread.”

The exhibition show cased textiles embroidered by women living with and affected by HIV and AIDs.You can view the project website here:
Fancy Stitch Info

The following photographs are a sample of the beautiful work that the women are creating and some of their stories.
Their work featured many images of hospitals and depicts the huge impact of HIV /AIDs death and loss in their every day life.
There was a scene of “Bride by Force”, the tapestry capturing the distress of forced marriage.
I was very moved by the exhibition and the work of the Women whose lives are so much harder than for many of us living in the western world…yet the art, beauty and color and creative expression, solidarity and community far surpasses many of the ways of the Western world.
Impoverished economically and denied access to health, education and welfare, the work of these courageous Women demonstrated the richness of Spirit and tenacity that transcends many of the burdens cast upon them…

Buselaphi Shongwe:

The words on her picture read:

The talented life of Buselaphi had been cut short by the AIDS pandemic that ravaged our area.
Buselaphi came from Ndumu, a place an hours drive by bus from Ingwavuma.She started the Ndumu group of embroidery artists just before her untimely death.
Her work depicts the rural lifestyle of fetching water, firewood and it’s a woman’s world keeping all things in place around the homestead. 
Her death came unexpectedly and it is a sad loss to the Fancy Stitch group. Buselaphi had six children who had all died.
She is remembered by her friends as somebody who was not easily angered and always smiling and laughing.
Buselaphi was 27 years old when she died in May 2005. 

 

Philile Mathenjwa
I am 35 years old. I ended my education in standard 8. I fell in love with a man. It was very good for 13 years. In 1997 he lost his job. We started to feel misery and a shortage of food.
It was a big family.My sister and brother-in-law started to be a bad influence to my husband and whenever he got a temporary job he did not support me any more.He sometimes never came back home.Whenever I confronted him with a problem he told me to go back to my family.
His family decided to chase me away.I have five children. I did not want to go back home with my children so I built myself my own house.Fortunately I managed to build one room and we stayed with my children.
I got a temporary job at the hospital and things started to be better. It was a pity when I lost it.

Sewing and Fancy Stitch helps me a lot in times of loneliness. It brings a smile on my face. I am now helping to make the building clean and enjoy it because people treat me well and I am still sewing my beautiful quilts.

Even when people don’t want me I don’t worry because I get all the love I need from Fancy Stitch.

Posted in Africa, Angels, Art, Community, Creativity, Lifes Stories, Love, Magic, Oxfam, Poverty, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, Spirituality, Stories, Warrior Women, Wisdom | 2 Comments »

Growing the Future…Spring is in the Earth and Air…

Posted by carolom on September 23, 2007

Spring is in the air and I spent the weekend in a small island community running a workshop called “Growing The Future”…

The theme of the workshop was moving forward by developing the Imagination, dreaming bigger dreams and letting go of the anchors of the past.

Each participant has her own terra cotta pot along with the Mandala and Affirmation colouring in sheets. On the first day we painted the undercoat and background of the pots and the following day everyone created a design that symoblised her personal Vision for the things that will begin to grow in her life as a result of forming a clear vision and reclaiming her capacity to Create…

We then sprinkled seeds of many different flowers into the soil and at the end of the workshop everyone took home her Growing the Future potplant which will begin to seed and sprout and push forth new growth……… so long as it is watered and given sunlight, warmth, care and attention of course…

Here are some of the images from the two days and many thanks to the Women of the Island community who gave me permission to share their creations with others…

Posted in Art, Change, Community, Creativity, Dreaming, Fun, Garden, Imagination, Lifes Stories, Sisterhood, Spirituality, Stories, The Art of Change, Transformation, Warrior Women | Leave a Comment »

The Healing Power of Nature, Releasing Old Patterns & the ART of Change…

Posted by carolom on September 20, 2007

***

‘Mother Nature is in our Nature as we travel through the seasons and cycles of Life’….

 Growing & Learning, Creating New Habits & Developing Positive New Patterns

is Governed by  Seasons & Cycles. Just like Nature

I have just completed a series of Art based empowerment workshops for three community groups involving Women across the health, homeless and domestic violence sectors. Recognising what holds us back and creating new Stories based on new insights…

Some the participants are members of the Stolen Generation – survivors of the government policy of stealing Aboriginal children from their mothers and incarcerating them in institutions as part of the ‘White Australia” policy. Many people continue to be affected by the high numbers of deaths, suicides and grief in the Community as a direct result of this intergenerational trauma.

How to find peace of mind, create beauty and reclaim the right to a fulfilling life are the every day challenges that many of the Women face. Their strength and tenacity is astounding and the impact of the opportunity to create art and share stories through creativity affirms the importance of ART as a tool for change…

Here are two of the pieces created from my series of black and white templates…I coloured two as samplers and the other is by the Goddess M from an Aboriginal Women’s group. A survivor of the removal from her family and community when she was just a little girl, M gave freely of her art and permission to share it here before her untimely passing.

M recorded made a short film of her Story before she passed, a loving gift to her children and grandchildren and a testament to her resilience and tenacity in the face of such deep grief and loss. We miss her.

Not everyone learns best by reading books – many people fall between the gap in western education and do not read or write with ease…so it is important that their learning and their healing needs be approached in a Creative manner.

For some, regardless of their literacy levels, embracing the opportunity to learn by creating, using colour and Vision on paper is the beginning of reclaiming and renewing their long-long relationship with the Creative, free flowing Self…

Creativity, colouring in the Mandala~Affirmation sheets engages on a visual and kinesthetic level- many Women tell me they actually hear more of the personal devleopment information when they are able to colour in , than if they have to sit still and look to the front of the room. I hear this time and time again and have seen many a young social worker student have an ‘ah ha’ moment when she sees how powerful the process is and realises how little information and training is given around the power and importance of Creativity in the social work training curriculum.

Art based development is far more culturally relevant to Aboriginal people, an oral tradition culture where art and symbology are the rich language of education and connection. People across all cultures enjoy the relaxation and ‘mind massage’ that the rhythmic, creative process invokes and often say it is a relief from ‘thinking thinking thinking” all the time…

I see dozens of my black and white template Art pieces coloured and painted and have never seen two that look the same… such is the unique individuality of each of the Women engaging with the tools of the Art of Change.


“I Now Release the Patterns that no Longer Serve Me”

This particular Affirmation requires a “Warning…this statement is not to be taken lightly” because women find that when they engage with the ‘letting go’ process, things do indeed begin to change…and that can create uncertainty and an unexpected shift in old structures, from the known to the unknown which means having to let go of fixed patterns and outdated ways of relating to others…

.When we release an old pattern, a new space is created for the possibility of new, healthy patterns to replace the old ones…

“I embrace the Healing Power of Nature to replenish my Body, Mind and Spirit”…

This Mandala recognises how vitally important it is to spend time in Nature and to embrace the natural elements for replenishing the Spirit

and breathing air that is free from the heavy sighs and toxic fumes of the city streets…



“I am at Home with Peace and Prosperity”

I designed this affirmation-poster specifically for Women who are living with the impact of poverty and the chaos of family violence and low self-identity. Simply being open to the possibility of a peaceful and prosperous life, even if it seems so far away and difficult to imagine, is the very first step to being ‘at home’ with the blessings and good fortune that should be the everyday reality for all of us…..

***

World Peace really does Beng “At home”…. Begin Within….



Posted in Art, Community, Creativity, Nature, The Art of Change, Transformation, Warrior Women | 3 Comments »

It’s not just the music and the rhythm….

Posted by carolom on July 3, 2007

African culture, in its many shapes and forms and separate nations has a strong appeal to me…
I was very influenced by my Teacher Vernon Hoffman as a teenager..he was a wonderful, eccentric, loud, passionate South African man who embodied the metamorphosis of Black Africa and Western education.

I haven’t been to Africa yet…but I know Sal and I will trravel there and I am very much looking forward to the everyday art and creativity that is so much richer in dress, jewellery, art’chitecture and song than us left-brain trained Westerners.

Like these houses for example….

Now I could verrry easily live in a mudbrick hut with richly textured walls, painted wearing a gorgeous pallet of cloth like that adorns these ladies!

I worked on a youth employment project many years ago that entailed building a mudbrick house in six months with 10 long term unemployed people under 25…70% building time and 30% personal and team development (that was my job)….

That house is still standing almost 20 years later……it was eventually purchased by one of the participants and to this day I have a place in my heart for chunky mudbricks and wheelbarrows of muddy paste that can only truly be understood by those who have felt the earth shape into a dwelling….

Makes me want to go and paint a blank piece of wall somewhere….

Posted in Africa, Art, Community, Creativity, Prosperity, Social Artistry, Warrior Women | 1 Comment »

Damper Campers

Posted by carolom on June 22, 2007

I have just returned from four days away on the magnificent remote west-coast line of South Australia where we held an art~creativity camp for a group of wonderful women….

Women who really know how to cook camp food like no other!

Here is the resident damper-baker extraordinnaire baking the 2 huge loaves that fed over 30 people….this would have to be one of the yummiest Mandalas ever made!

If you have never had camp fire-baked fresh bread with butter and home made soup, you have definitely missed out on the magical experience of eating home baked bread moulded by hands that create something uniquely delicious from wheat and water….

The out door oven had its photo taken so that when the women get back to their community, the men can make a damper oven for them too!…..

Next camp we decided we would have ‘pamper sessions’ in the program, using bush medicines and massage….that will make us Pamper Damper Campers!…..;-)




Posted in Aboriginal, Community, Creativity, Sisterhood, Stories, Warrior Women | 4 Comments »

Art of Community- Women drawing Change…

Posted by carolom on June 8, 2007

I was invited to facilitate a Community Art project celebrating 30 years of service to the community by a domestic violence accommodation and support service.
We created 6 installation Mandalas over 5 weeks with a group of women who had been housed by the agency in the last few years.
At the end of the the project one of the participants said that reconnecting with her creativity made her think beyond being a ‘survivor of domestic violence’ and “I found parts of me I didn’t know were there”….another participant went on to employment in the human services sector – part of that process was beginning to look forward as a result of looking back to where she was when she first entered the agency in crisis…

The staff of the shelter also created a piece that represented the inspiration they find in the Womens stories and their courage to change.

Heres a photo of four of the 6 Art of Community Mandalas with a description of the theme we used to create it:

The Future is in our Hands
This Mandala is created by a circle of hands that reflect the power we have to make new choices & create new dreams.

Our Strength as Women
Who is the “Warrior Woman”, what are her strengths & how does she go about creating change and developing the life she desires?

30 years of Service
Many Women and Children have passed through the doors since 1977 and the agency is an important part of the community. This art piece reflects the role that the agency has played in creating a safer, more peaceful community.

World Peace Begins at Home
Our home should be the place where we feel safe and at peace. This Mandala has the theme of the Peace Dove and reflects the importance of living in a safe & peaceful home.

The Mandalas now sit on the wall of the group room of the agency…..

Posted in Community, Creativity, Imagination, Lifes Stories, Mandalas, Prosperity, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, The Art of Change, Warrior Women, Wealth, Wisdom | 1 Comment »

A New Batch of Warrior Women…Strong Mind and Peaceful Heart

Posted by carolom on April 7, 2007

Each week in my ART of Change ~ Law of AttrACTION program we make a piece of Art /Craft the embodies that weeks discussion…

As an artist and life coach I place a great deal of importance on the visual /auditory AND kinestic process of learning – Seeing, Hearing and Doing- CREATING …the way we learnt as young children in a visually rich, imaginative and engaging environment works for adults in ways that sitting passively with a white board and speaker does not engage with all of the preferred learning styles….

e.g. When looking at the “Poverty to Prosperity Consciousness” week we make a ProsperiTree:
Click here to view…

When embarking on the journey to call on the “Warrior Woman Within” we create her as we discuss who She is…
They are made from a basic black and white template…

These are some of the new flock of Warrior Women that were birthed in a domestic violence outreach group that I had the privilege of facilitating over 5 weeks….

The headress symbolises the importance of developing Strong Thoughts forms and controlled Thinking
The Heart is the importance of connecting with Feelings but not solely driven by emotional responses to the world
And the wings demonstrate that when we are centred and balanced and understand the Power we have to create our Reality….we can fly like \never before…..

My wonderfully-creative Mother even made a couple of Warrior Women of her own…they now travel to workshops with me and inspire others with their creative gorgeousness….
You can see her with them here…….

Posted in Art, Creativity, Dreaming, Imagination, Lifes Stories, Magic, Mind Power, Mystical, Oneness, Prosperity, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, Spirituality, Stories, The Art of Change, The Law of Attraction, Transformation, Warrior Women, Wealth, Wisdom | 4 Comments »