Bianca Lee, President of Hong Kong Association of Art Therapists shares her experiences, tips and tricks, while picking some of her favourite artworks, to help us transition away from the challenges of 2020.
Wednesday 10 February, 2021
For many, 2021 represents hope as we slowly transition away from the challenges of 2020. But with the mental burden of lockdowns and restrictions still weighing heavily, it is important to continue looking for ways to take care of our wellbeing at home. At Affordable Art Fair, we believe that art is the key to creatively expressing our emotions while nurturing some well needed feelings of optimism.
To explore wellbeing further, we invited Bianca Lee, President of Hong Kong Association of Art Therapists and Licensed Professional Clinical Counsellor (USA) to share her experiences, tips and tricks, while picking some of her favourite artworks, to help us tackle any lingering negative feelings 2020 has left behind.
Step away from frustration with creativity
Bianca was directly affected by the pandemic as she got unexpectedly stuck in the United States with her partner for a lengthy period of time. She can recall clearly that when the first wave of the pandemic in Hong Kong wound down, it was just beginning for the US: “The most unforgettable memory from 2020 was my attempt to regain mental and emotional balance in response to the choices I had to make due to the circumstances. We were all forced to take a much needed pause to slow down and reflect on ourselves, our community, and things we care about the most,” shared Bianca.
Frustration is a common emotion when faced with uncertainty, and although Bianca wasn’t an exception, she channelled her frustration into positive actions: “I would binge watch good shows, read books or channel how I felt through making art, dancing, and cooking. I would call up my friends or attend therapy to process and to get a better understanding of what I might be frustrated about.”
As a representation of Bianca’s approach to dealing with the pandemic, she chose the artwork Prescription and Ways To See Afar by Emma Harding. Bianca says, “seeing beyond our immediate surroundings can at times instil a sense of hope. The inspiration of colourful places we will get to experience in the future is so exciting!”.
Release emotions by expressing yourself
As an art therapist, Bianca is experienced in the healing power of art and uses it to help other people. Her love of art arose when socially isolated in high school, she found solace in the visual art classroom where she could create. Thinking about this, she has selected Gabriel Isak’s Let Go which helps to remind us “letting go does not mean to forget about something, rather it’s to release the emotional stronghold something has on us.”
When helping clients through the art therapy process, understanding is the first step. Bianca strives to discover and connect with each client so she can provide a tailored approach. From there, together they explore materials and concepts as part of the creative process. This journey helps the client understand themselves better and develop healthy coping strategies, using the creative outlet to release emotions, “Output is the key to truly care for ourselves. Activities such as singing a song, doodling, writing in your journal or chatting with a friend all involve some kind of expression. Through expression we’re able to ground or name some of the experiences or emotions that have been swirling or brewing in our mind and hearts.”
“Even a few short sessions with a professional can be beneficial. Remember, we seek a medical doctor if we get sick or hurt, so sometimes preventative care or a little extra help to improve our mental wellbeing can help us get back on our feet.”
“Some days I felt very stagnant like this situation was never going to end, other days I felt this was such an opportunity for me to start doing things differently. The artwork Double Trouble Cat Crackers by artist Charlotte Farmer reminded me that humour can bring light to subjects we find heavy and uncomfortable,” shared Bianca.
A further tip she’s shared is to, “be mindful of the media or content you consume. If things overwhelm you, give yourself permission to take a break and share how we feel. People say there’s no rainbow without rain, so don’t fear or worry that things won’t turn out the ways you want – trust that you will weather the storms of life and become a better version of yourself.”
“Dawn and dusk mark the changing cycles of our experiences. Wherever a situation lies in the spectrum, from contentment to depression, we have the deeper knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’” thinking of this, Bianca selected A Little Tenderness I by Charlotte Elizabeth which provides an uplifting reminder of passing days, storms and trying times.
Being grateful is a core skill that Bianca has honed over the past year. “I learned to notice and appreciate the experiences I was having. This skill continues to strengthen, day by day as we step into 2021!” perfect then to choose the uplifting Deep Sea Duo by Betsy Enzenberger, as a reminder to appreciate the little things, such as popsicles on a summer day – remind her that she’ll be able to gather with loved ones again soon.
And of course, we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Bianca for her expressive and poignant advice, plus her thoughtful and joy-filled artwork selection. To discover your own little piece of art therapy for your walls, browse our online marketplace and bring a little happiness into your home!