I began this piece during the early stages of the pandemic in an attempt to connect more deeply with myself and explore my connection to my Persian culture. This inspired my capstone project about the application of culturally specific art therapy to improve self-esteem in sex trafficked youth.
I poured acrylic paint over the artwork that I had been meticulously painting for months prior. This process evoked a sense of release from the controlling parts of my psyche. The act of pouring fluid paint over the carefully curated artwork was a practice in releasing expectations, welcoming messiness, and quieting the voice of my inner critic.
This part of the piece encapsulates my process of learning how to hold space for clients in their discomfort.
The waves that were created using the fluid acrylic represent the process of riding the waves of the client’s emotional experience while staying calm and grounded like the tree. The waves may encapsulate the therapist, but the head is above water, in a more neutral, objective space. To me, this is a representation of a healthy therapeutic relationship: being in the waves with the client, holding the gentle, yet strong space of the tree, and not getting washed away.
The colorful designs in the center of the piece were inspired by the breakthrough moments within the therapeutic relationship: the ineffable moments of growth, beauty, flow, healing and connection.