As an artist and educator at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, I, Joan marie Kelly, took on a meaningful endeavor of developing a series of Trauma-Informed Art Making workshops for the victims of the devastating earthquake in Turkey. In collaboration with Balikesir University, I presented a proposal that was enthusiastically accepted, allowing us to commence these transformative sessions.
Among the participants, the women’s group stood out, as they showcased a remarkable display of emotions. Every conceivable sentiment unfolded within their creative expressions. In times when their drawings delved deep into raw emotions of their losses, they sought solace and support from one another through dance, forming a collective bond of resilence and healing.
I must express my heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated interpreters who tirelessly facilitated communication throughout the workshops. Their efforts were invaluable in bridging the linguistic and cultural gaps, enabling a profound exchange of emotions and stories. I would also like to extend my deepest appreciation to the remarkable team at Balikesir University, led by Chair Elif Çimen. The collaboration and unwavering support from faculty members, including Selvihan Kılıç Ateş, Duygu Sabancılar Iştın, Serdar Yılmaz, Öznur Işır, Aylin Güngör, Elif Feyza Türkmen, Burçak Balamber, Gökçe Aysun Kılıç, İbrahim Korkmaz, Altay Doğan, Esra Aydın, Fergana Kocadoru Özgör, and Cumhur Okay Özgör, were instrumental in the success and impact of these workshops.
I am truly grateful to the Municipality of Balikesir for their invaluable support. The municipality generously funded the project, covering the costs of art-making materials and shouldering all the organizational responsibilities.
Through the power of art, storytelling, and communal support, we embarked on a journey of healing and resilience with the earthquake victims in Turkey, creating a space where their voices could be heard, acknowledged, and honoured. The transformative impact of these Trauma-Informed Art making workshops will undoubtedly leave a lasting imprint on the participants and the wider community alike.