Self-expression can be seen as an act of bringing forth one’s own internal experiences to the outside world. It is the expression of emotions, thoughts, ideas, or visions through various means including writing, art, music, theater, dance etc. Creativity is a form of self-expression. Its purpose is to unveil, to release and oftentimes, to express various levels of emotion. Sometimes, it is easier to express ourselves visually than verbally. Creative activities like art can help the creator express what they are feeling in the present moment. It can help the creator share a memory they never wish to forget, and it can also help to alleviate stress. The great thing about art is that there is no right or wrong way to create it because art is a creative activity unique to its creator.
One aspect of art that is extremely important to remember is that art is therapeutic. Creating art at any age gives the creator an opportunity to express what they are feeling, and that in itself is therapeutic. In essence, art becomes a getaway, a place of solitude, a judgement free zone, a place of understanding, and an outlet where the creator can bring to life the invisible thoughts, words, visions and emotions that swirl around in their head. When we as onlookers view a work of art, we can guess, analyze or interpret what the creator must have been thinking or feeling. From the brush strokes, to the choice of colors, use of lines and a myriad of other art methods, the creator’s emotions and visions are laid bare on the canvas for all to see. This level of creative self-expression becomes that much more important when the creator is experiencing a terminal illness like cancer.
From the moment a person is diagnosed with cancer, it kicks off a journey filled with numerous activities to be experienced by the patient, his/her loved ones, and the medical professionals that will be there along the way. Diagnosed with Hodgins cancer, the creator of this specific artwork mentions the path from the diagnosis, through treatment, the scans, tests, bone marrow biopsy, chemo treatment, hair falling out, surgeries and more along the way. All of this is unsettling. For any cancer patient, their family and loved ones, it can be frightful, overwhelming, depressing, and a time full of uncertainty. They are presented with so much information, and trying to make sense of it all is almost unimaginable. For the patient, there is always a myriad of emotions, thoughts, questions etc. Oftentimes, it becomes a struggle to handle. In the midst of the cancer journey, the creator of this particular piece of art found creativity, and experienced a shift.
For the creator of this piece of art, creativity became a way to make sense of the cancer journey.
Creativity enables me to place myself and settle. Sometimes I settle with reality and other times, I settle on ocean waves, in trees, or fly with kites at night
In viewing the piece of art, we see the hairpiece and its care instructions, referencing the loss of hair as evident with cancer patients. We see the use of dark colors along with bold and vibrant colors, we see boats and ocean waves, kites in the sky, vines, wires, and hospital drips – all of which intertwine the harsh reality of the cancer journey, with an alternate reality. In this scenario, it is evident that creativity provided this particular cancer patient a way to swirl the realities of the cancer diagnosis, alongside a reality outside of the diagnosis. For this cancer patient, creativity provided an outlet for self-expression and made it possible to share some of those thoughts, visions, and emotions for the world to experience.
I am Christiana Unaeze, a passionate User Experience Designer and creative entrepreneur who loves jewelry, creating content, and all things DIY! UX design is the perfect union of my love for design, tech, and human behavior. I also stay involved through teaching, writing, and speaking. You can find me online and on Twitter