Finding healing through art

Published 9:14 pm Monday, October 18, 2021

The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts has a new exhibition about healing through art.

Through Oct. 23, SOLACE: Healing Through the Arts will be on display in the BB&T and Norfolk Foundation Galleries. These pieces of art are in numerous mediums that show what healing looks like for the artists who created them.

This exhibition is the first of its kind at the Center, as it allowed anyone to submit their work. Other exhibitions have been invitation-only or in partnership with a specific group. This time, anyone who wanted to could submit a piece of art inspired by their healing journey.

“This was an experiment for us,” said Lorelei Costa Morrow. “Turns out we got a great diversity of artists. We are proud of the diversity in terms of age, race and background.”

The various works show emotions of anger, grief, fear, peace and hope. For some artists, the process was the healing, and for others, the healing was depicted in the piece.

Artworks include Walt Hardy’s “Free at Last: FREE AT LAST!” which expresses the joy of Juneteenth. Viewers can see the joy in the children as they leap and cartwheel over cotton fields in celebration, showing the day that Juneteenth commemorates — the end of slavery in the United States.

“My goal is to inspire all who see my work to look more carefully at the world around them, to question the obvious, to peel away at the prevailing notions in art and life and to see the beauty in the dichotomy of rearranging the pieces,” said Hardy.

Other works include Diana Veazey’s paintings and a sculpture she made when diagnosed with breast cancer. Her statue is titled “Broken,” as it depicts a woman clutching her chest.

Many submitted pieces focus on the pandemic. “Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go” is a photograph by Pat Eelman showing being stuck inside during lockdown. Barbara Anne Harris submitted a self-portrait of her in her scrubs and personal protective equipment, showing the barriers in covering smiles and then made it harder to see someone’s eyes losing that personal connection with patients.

Art kits were sent to children at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. Three were returned, all depicting rainbows in different ways.

“Arts can bring people together to share their ideas, stories and how we get through pain,” said Morrow. “Now that we can gather again, it’s more powerful to experience it together. Cheering and laughing with our neighbors is a form of healing.”

For those who prefer performing or literary arts, at 8 p.m. Nov. 5 in the ballroom, there will be an open mic night for those to tell the story of their healing journey. This will conclude the month-long exploration of healing through the arts.