The academic year has come to an end and we have just finished yet another year of collaboration with the Department of volunteers of the Hospital de Sant Joan de Déu, in which for the past six years we have been collaborating with a children’s workshop aimed at the hospitalized children.
The stay of a boy or girl in the hospital is often complex for the child and for their family surroundings, for obvious reasons of illness, worry, subjection to medical processes, the displacement from the usual family setting, and often boredom and/or apathy. In some cases, in which there have been important geographical changes in location, there is also the feeling of solitude both of the child and of the people accompanying him or her.
From the museum we believe that art is a versatile tool that can help in all these processes and our aim is to contribute a moment of active leisure for the children, which, based on more or less close ties with the work of Picasso, work is done in a creative and fun way so as to provide the children with a positive moment and of enjoyable learning. We have seen that the proposals worked on with them have helped to make their time in the hospital more positive, and they have become reminders of how, for a moment, they overcome the illness.
After various years with the same proposal, this year we have decided to renew it, and for this reason we asked the artist Anna Obon, with whom we had collaborated in a Big Draw, who gave us a workshop proposal that she would carry out every fortnight in the same hospital.
The idea of this proposal is to provide a creative space in which the hospitalized boys and girls and also those families who wanted to do so (mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, relations and visiting friends), could find an intimate space and at the same time with accompaniment that allows them to be themselves. A space of play, of art and approaching the reality of each of them.
So as to work on the reflection and observation of the setting, the space, the people surrounding them, the feelings that invade them, everything close to them, in the same way as Picasso did, they could express and represent in a pleasant, open and free way, an accordion-book format was selected, in which the children could intervene in an open way by shaping their ideas and thoughts, accompanied by Anna, who helped them to create a world of collage, stamps, drawings and words which would become an enriching memory of their stay in the hospital.
Anna Obon herself explained to us her motivations in designing the workshop and how to share it with the children:
“Two Wednesdays a month, the museum asked me to go to the Hospital to offer a space, a time, materials and many plastic and formal resources to the children who were unable to visit the museum. The museum approaches art and the history of art to people from very different backgrounds, countries and cultures, and that now, can be found together under the same roof. This time, in which we find ourselves, becomes an enriching personal space, in which to share and exchange impressions, experiences and visions, in which the social and artistic ties go hand in hand. I think that this situation outside our normal routine, outside our everyday activities (more for some than for others) provides us with an opportunity to grow and to widen our field of vision. For me, art makes us grow as people and makes us freer. And what is art if it isn’t relations and connections?
The families have the opportunity to relate with each other from another situation, to have fun together, to play and enjoy themselves. Each of them decides where they want to go and how far they want to reach in this small project. There are those that by means of a stroke of stained colour can invent a character, others who are unable to draw with the right hand and, being right-handed, dare to draw all their companions with the left hand, letting them draw a shaky line, innocently deforming the figures, freeing themselves of pressures and opening up the look. Others use the book as a personal diary or as a book in which they focus on their dreams and goals for when they leave the hospital; some end up doing volumetric figures with the book which finishes up being a toy for their baby brother. We can always find an excuse to start and pull the thread and spend an agreeable, positive and enjoyable time.”
Thank you very much Anna for your contribution and for your hard work!
Anna Obon and Anna Guarro (Educational Services, Activities and Digital content)