Simone Sandelson has spent the last few years teaching painting to prisoners, hospice patients and refugees. Her most recent project has been in Dharamsala, India, where she has been teaching art workshops to Tibetan children living in exile. She has encouraged them to share their memories and experiences in Tibet through their paintings. Their work is direct and poignant and especially relevant as the west is largely ignorant of the Tibetans’ struggle to retain their identity due to a media blackout in Tibet.
She started by offering a course in Portrait Painting at Wormwood Scrubs Prison. The prisoners brought in, often small crumpled photos of their loved ones and painted their portraits with so much tenderness. They discovered new qualities in themselves and developed real confidence reinforced by their delighted families. Most have little or no experience of painting, yet when given the opportunity the results can be spectacular. Other projects included Heroes, Sporting Personalities, Film Stars and these proved to be a great means of communication among foreign prisoners from many different countries, who spoke very little English.
Creative projects at Trinity Hospice proved to be equally transformative. The patients created their own ‘story’ through painting to make sense of what is happening to them and what really matters. Feelings are often difficult to put into words but painting restores a sense of self-worth and motivation in changing circumstances as well as real friendship and the sharing of ideas.
BA Hons, Art History, University of Manchester
Foundation Course, Art Therapy, Goldsmiths College
Art Teacher’s Certificate, Institute of Education, University of London
MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction)
Restorative Justice Practitioner
Peace Education Program Facilitator at HMP Thameside
Wormwood Scrubs Prison
Helen Bamber Foundation
Art workshops at Tibetan Childrens Village, Dharamsala, India.