Basharat Bashir

The art response to pandemic

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Setting the soul free with Art 

The pandemic has drawn confines around us and, as a result, we have begun to find a new normal for ourselves and are quickly trying to adjust to the changed scenarios around us. It might not happen so quickly and we are obviously still feeling the pangs of getting disconnected due to the virus, but within the confines we have been trying to draw new boundaries, explore new forms and formulate new schedules.

At such a crucial juncture it is art that seems connecting us to the exotic and the enthusiastic aspirations that had been long overshadowed by a variety of emotions – art connects us to a world and gives us a chance to recreate our memories and imaginations.

These days, our activities include touching the canvas and the colors after a long while, scribing, sketching and sharing artworks. We have also found online platforms for watching movies, songs, videos and sharing our favorite playlists with our friends and family.

We often tend to believe that what we are doing is merely a response to the pandemic and the outward scenarios building up but in reality all such activities actually reflect a lot about our personalities and our attitudes as well as the artist in us.

Apart for aesthetic value, our lives and the world we live in is greatly affected and influenced by art. Different people experience art in different ways; some may get attracted by the beauty of an art work while others may engage themselves in experimenting whole new window of thoughts. An artwork has a profound capability to engage people in one or the other way regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.

When we visit a hospital or any healthcare centre as a patient or a visitor we are surrounded by blank walls.  The impression of hospital is cold, and to add up its gloomy atmosphere we have large dead blank walls. And if we hung a piece of art or have a mural on that blank wall it  can serve as a therapeutic and healing tool and will reduce the loneliness and provide opportunities for patients, visitors and the staff for self-expression and offer a sense of calm.

The studies and the findings of implementation of art in hospitals have established a direct connection between Arts and the Healthcare. In many countries including USA,  Arts in Healthcare has become diverse, multidisciplinary field dedicated to uplifting and taking the healthcare experience to the next level by connecting people through art and its benefits to patients, their families, and the health workers altogether. Art is also beneficial to every person’s mental health, patient or not. Studies found a direct and strong link between the content of images that art offers and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety.

Arts in healthcare programs and creative arts therapies have been applied to a vast array of health issues, including: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Autism and overall mental health, chronic illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia, Neurological disorders and brain injuries, premature infant births as well as Physical disabilities. In conclusion, art is beneficial to a person’s overall health condition, including medication outcomes, treatment compliance and quality of life.

The concept of using the arts in healing has gained more attention, and more articles and reviews about the trend are being published in journals and academic periodicals. Many of which explored and confirmed the positive effects of arts on patients and their families, as well as health workers, when exposed to different art media.

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