'A Heart, A Story, A Life' for William Hope, 2015

The artwork became a shorthand tool for William to share his story with the staff. His exterior became softened and he began to be seen for the human beneath the surface.
— Dr. Jennifer Wiltshire

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.

Some of the meaning signified in the lines, forms and colours of Williams's Ink-Pressing

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.