Creativity is the first medicine

Creativity is the first medicine, A4, Oil pastel and coloured biro on legal pad paper

This is my fragmented heart – a response to what I heard and saw and felt on Friday when I attended Edge Hill University Arts Centre event – The Role of the Arts, Arts Therapies, and Psychotherapies in Supporting Mental Health in Black and Allied Communities. The words around the heart are a quote from Andrea-May Oliver, which blew my mind:

“Ancestors, thank you for walking the path we wouldn’t dare to tread.”

And at the bottom is another quote from Samantha Adams, which forms the title of my piece: “Creativity is the First Medicine.”

As someone who experienced sexual, emotional and physical abuse in childhood and daily discriminations of sexism throughout life, I can attest to creativity as first medicine. When I was in the midst of a breakdown 11 years ago and I could not get the mental health help I needed, art was there. Without art I would have been in a dark hole for a long time.

I made a sculptural piece on canvas and wrote a poem on it. This is the poem:

I am not broken
I don’t need to be fixed
What I need is presence
For my parts to be mixed

You can see this painting here: https://juliafry.com/legal-high-2011/

Trauma, any trauma regardless of the discrimination that caused it, can be healed with expression in safe arms. It’s hard to go there, to those places of pain, and it must be done gently, allowing the pain to bubble up rather than go seeking it. It’s so worth it. The more we do the inner work, the more we honour ourselves, our ancestors, the people we share this planet with and we can create heaven on earth if we can hear one another’s pain, have a conversation about it, a dance, a song, throw away what is no longer needed in the fire and create together. That’s what we’re here for. We are creative beings. Let’s create some magic!