Men's Art Therapy: October

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The second session of ARTogether’s art therapy workshop for Cambodian men, led by artist Shimana Sadeghi, began similarly to the first. She asked everyone to form a circle, say their name, and perform one by one a movement for everyone else to repeat.

Some participants used the energizing exercise to show off their athletic skills, stretching and even executing push ups! Before they began the main activity, Shimana thanked the men for their willingness to participate in her workshop and reminded everyone about the confidentiality of their following discussions.

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Shimana held a photo up to the group, angling it so everyone could see the abstract image of two cliffs looming beyond a window frame. She asked the group what they interpreted in the image and then asked each participant to copy the picture using markers and colored pencils. Then came the challenge: each man was asked to construct a house with objects around his window. After fifteen minutes of quiet concentration, the men explained their drawings and reasonings behind the objects they drew in their homes, as each artistic decision reflected their needs and desires and those of their families and communities.


One man wanted a tv, a table and kitchen along with a security system around the house. Another man drew a growing garden, and other chose to depict two cars by his house. While one volunteer explained the swimming pool he had constructed for his family, another confessed that a house on the cliffs seemed too dangerous a place to live.

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One participant explained that the most important aspect for him was the security of owning a house in case of war. After everyone who wanted to share explained their drawings and stories, Shimana thanked the group for their candidacy and vulnerability, and promised that there would be a related workshop the following month.