Art is a great way to express your thoughts and emotions. At our local Islamic Center, known as the masjid, there is a variety of people ranging from children to the elderly who have been through various hardships, especially Muslim women in the West, and many of them struggle to adjust.
My initial thought process for this project was wanting to do something after witnessing the disrupted unity throughout my community, where many felt like they did not have people they could talk freely. With this in mind, I decided that creating a positive space for individuals struggling with trapped emotions can ultimately help create a more positive impact throughout my community and their own well-being. This would be done by allowing individuals to express suffocated emotions onto a canvas by painting away stress, anger, and sadness.
I began by pitching my idea to my local mosque, where I received positive feedback. After applying for and receiving the grant, I began purchasing art supplies, comforting snacks, and other essentials. I sent out virtual posters through Instagram, WhatsApp, and online group chats to advertise my event. The registration for the workshop closed up almost immediately, as 35 participants signed up.
My project was held on October 31, 2 pm – 4 pm. I had asked a friend to help me set up tables, chairs, etc. Women aged from 6 – 50 came eagerly and excited to paint. I had set up an art table that held up all necessary supplies such as canvases, paints, brushes, glitter, etc. Participants gathered all needed items, put their paints onto a plate, and began painting. I rarely had to interfere with someone’s art to help them gain a creative perspective. However, a common challenge was getting asked how to create certain paint colours. As a leader, I showed my attempts and failures by helping create a desired paint colour. I did not feel ashamed or embarrassed if I could not get the desired paint colour on the first try because I wanted to showcase the image of being someone who is human and makes mistakes rather than being the perfect leader.
Overall, everyone who attended my workshop left great and positive feedback, stating that they could not wait to do it again. I definitely saw an overall change in behaviour with these individuals after the session. They seemed brighter and smiled while saying their goodbyes. Although my workshop was not a nationwide conference or a provincial food drive, I still impacted the relationships in my community by helping others. And that is what I believe helps most: the small actions that lead to the bigger impact around us in our communities.