McGill students create exhibit showcasing healing power of art
Anita Raj is a medical student at McGill and she's also a brain tumor survivor. She knows firsthand how art can help with the healing process.
“When you're going through such a difficult time you need something that sort of takes away from the illness. Helps you relax, helps get rid of the stress and that's really what it did for me,” she said.
Raj is part of a group of McGill students that helped put together a special exhibit with the McGill University Health Centre. Journeys Through Health Care is a display of artwork and stories created by 21 patients, caregivers, and health care providers. Each work of art is a different take on the experience of illness.
“Art has the potential to bring us into the present moment which we don't do a lot when we're ill or when we're with people that are very ill, because we're thinking about the future and we kind of get wrapped up in our thoughts,” said Karine Raynor, the curator of the RBC Art and Heritage Centre at the MUHC.
Raj’s art form of choice is origami – she has been folding squares of paper into works of art since she was a child.
“When I was little I used to fold little stars and simpler things. When I grew up I got into more complex things, things that really challenge your brain but they also distract you and relax you,” she said.
Lisa Boucher, who visited the exhibit, knows firsthand the importance of art in healing. Her mother was sick for a long time and eventually received a kidney transplant.
“When she passed away two months later I did an abstract painting to basically celebrate her soul and her life through the resilience she had,” she said.
Raj said she likes seeing how each piece resonates with visitors.
"It's also nice in that I see my own artwork displayed and I see people appreciating it and it just makes me feel really, really good inside.
The Journeys Through Health exhibition runs until the end of April in Block D at the Glen. For more information on the exhibit, visit facebook.com/healthartexhibition.