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Art as Therapy with WomenStrong DC: Part 2 of 3

“Art as Therapy” with WomenStrong DC (WSDC) documents the results of a five-week Self-Portrait Silhouette Workshop where the women of WSDC, under the guidance of teaching artists Lana Wong and Sabreena Jeru-Ahmed, used their creative talents to discuss powerful personal issues.

Here is part two of the series:

Christie Gardner (pictured above sitting next to her artwork)

In my neighborhood there is a lot of violence, so I used the camouflage with the fatigues to symbolize that I have to be a soldier or warrior everyday to survive in my neighborhood. As per the Crime Victims Act, I’m supposed to be relocated from my current neighborhood. They shot up my apartment almost a year ago. They were after a neighbor and they misidentified my house as theirs. I have five bullet holes in my wall, it took forever for them to be fixed and everyday I look at them I think just one of them could have killed me. I’ve had to see a psychiatrist just to deal with some of the trauma from the experience. The image itself is of me with my blond braided hair. Then, I love earrings so I added that as style to kind of depict me – a younger version of me at least. I pray a lot so that’s why I have the prayer stance in the silhouette. I also take the kids in my neighborhood to church. One time I had like 17 kids and I’d try my best to teach them good principles.

A smiling Francis poses next to her silhouette.

Francis Lampkin

When I look at this silhouette I think, ‘I must have been happy that day.’ I definitely know I wanted to capture my happiness in there. There is so much love I have in my heart that people don’t understand. I just want to be peaceful. Sometimes I feel like the devil just making me snap all the time. I get  mad and I do things and say things I don’t want to. Where is this anger coming from? I am just angry and I don’t know where it’s coming from.

I have appointments with a psychiatrist about this. Not with Bread [for the City], but up at the clinic in Anacostia. I feel I just want to be better and have more control and work on that. So I made the artwork to show what I feel inside, that a lot of times I don’t get to show.

I put clouds and butterflies and used the bright colors with the sun high in the sky to show how happy I am on the inside. Being outdoors makes me happy too, so I painted myself outside. I placed the names of my family members inside words I think best describes them. My son’s name is Cody and I put him in ‘Happy’. My other son, Raymond, I put him in ‘Peace’. Me and my friend, 89 is his nickname, I put us in ‘Love’ for the obvious reasons.

*Bread for the City’s WomenStrong DC is a proud member of WomenStrong International (WSI), a consortium of non-profit organizations in five nations supporting women-led solutions to urban poverty.*

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