Artist Voodo Fe' tells the story of the inspiration of Nutz N Botz, an organization researching and studying the influence of art on our minds and bodies and seeking new ways to integrate arts into the community. They create a story in which art plays the role of the body's, or community's immune system, battling and transforming pain and disease in order to visualize and communicate the power of art in our homes, schools, hospitals, and communities.
Paintings are from a series by Voodo Fé, The Story of Rose Gold and Indigo Spanish, a series of paintings based on the transition from pain to peace. This exhibit was presented at the Bishop Gallery this last April.
Now we know that art has influence. Otherwise why would we keep such an element around for such a long time? It doesn't feed or shelter us. I can't perform heart surgery with a brush. Art might be described as a soft power, but what this really means is that its power is an unknown element. While artistic involvement in people's movements offers shared experience, unity, and inspiration, it's a poor sham to use it to exact a specific agenda on others. We might wish for this, because it's reassuring to see a measurable immediate effect from your actions, but art is not meant to procure an agenda. It's power is in allowing possibility and openness through experience. This transformation belongs to the individual, not necessarily the artist or the doctor. This is one reason why it's difficult to explain art's influence on health, or complete research on exactly how art works in the therapeutic process (though I think the immune system is a pretty good analogy). This makes it ever so much harder to get funding and recognition. People don't want to pay for what they can't see.
A big part of our work in establishing the importance of art in healing, whether in medical or arts institutions or the community or places of worship is to first establish the validity of the individual's choice, expression, and experience of themselves. This is not something to be dictated, priced, moralized, or diagnosed. It is also sometimes necessary for a person to not be healed when a professional or insurance company wants them to be. It is necessary for a person to know their own right to healing as well as a right to choices that be construed as failures along the way, because getting better is an unpredictable process and its definition doesn't belong to the authorities, or anyone else.
In this way art provides the vehicle for undefined and un-owned healing. We weave it in and out of the institutions and our public and private spaces as an offering to those who will slip it into their pocket and save it for when they really need it. So they know there are lovers, co-conspirators, combatants, weirdos, and heroes all around them. Something that will cross the barriers of your skin or the walls of your prison when arms don't reach.
Once this foundation is laid, we can soak up all the information we have from the medical community and clinical professionals to use in service to the individual. Nutz N Botz is currently using a grass roots energy to seek out research and information that will help them pull in support for community projects and work in hospitals, building a bridge to further their understanding in developing their future goals and relationship with the arts in the healing.
For more information or to offer support, you can contact them at:
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nutzandbotz.com