This is William Hope. He was our very first participant in the program. A textured character. A life lived of adversity, tenacity, love and courage.
He shared some very difficult stories with me, openly and warmly, which allowed us to co-create an environment of empathy and trust quite quickly. He had spent 30 years of his life in jail and in the last few years had found peace and a renewed sense of meaning in his existence.
I listened without judgement or expectation. No story is ever wrong. Every person’s story is sacred and important. I am there to receive their perspective with honour and openness.
Following his Session, the staff began to report that William shared some of his stories with them, talking through the significance of each ink mark and colour I had made in his Ink-Pressing – and then adding more layers of his own interpretation. This is what I hope for in every Session experience – that a guest truly makes the artwork their own. A true collaboration between artist and storyteller. The art cannot exist without the stories and stories may not have ever been shared in such a way if it wasn’t for the art.
These Sessions give someone a way of seeing and sharing the life they’ve lived, so the people around them can come to know them more fully.