x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Healing Art: Wilma Burton

Wilma Burton’s A Rose With a Heart, part of a healing art exhibition in Abu Dhabi for Ramadan (Courtesy: Wilma Burton)
Wilma Burton’s A Rose With a Heart, part of a healing art exhibition in Abu Dhabi for Ramadan (Courtesy: Wilma Burton)

Wilma Burton is an Abu Dhabi based artist who specialises in Healing Art. Her work is currently on display in Etihad Modern Art Gallery for their Ramadan Art Souq.

Here we catch up with her for a Q&A:

Q: How do you define Healing Art?

A: Healing Art is a type of art that promotes healing and well-being whether is physical, mental or emotional. This happens by changing a person’s physiology and attitude. Likewise by using healing art, people in general can benefit from a painting to get inspired and experience positive emotions such as hope, peace, happiness, harmony, among others.

In hospitals and healthcare facilities, healing art has been used to ease the mind of those who find hospital settings stressful. In all sorts of unexpected ways, art in hospitals has significantly proven beneficial by research conducted by experts in the field. For example, patients who are surrounded by this kind of art decrease their length of stay at hospitals, also decrease the need for pain relief, lower blood pressure and helps the immune system.

Q: What is the process of creating healing art?

A: Healing Art has to be the right art, vivid paintings with compositions that the mind associates with goodness with images of landscapes, friendly faces, and familiar objects while abstract paintings can have the opposite effect. In my work I use a lot of images of nature since nature is universal and appealing to most people. I think most of us love flowers, rainbows and the ocean etc.

Colours also play a big role in the creation of Healing Art because each colour has a different healing property. It is a powerful communication tool and is not only used by artists, but also by interior designers. Some colours are beneficial and others can produce negative emotions. For instance, I use blue and green in some of my paintings because they have a calming effect, red energises helping with blood circulation, and pink heals grief and sadness.

Besides using colours and the right composition, I try to make my art with a sensation of being pulled into it, whether is a landscape where ones imagination can run free or a serene place where there is peace and quiet.

Q: Do you have people who visit you and you heal them through art?

A: Yes, some people who visit my studio, suffer from stress, anxiety or depression, so according to each particular case I create a painting to produce or transmit the healing effect they need to improve and address a specific condition. An interesting fact, worth mentioning is that some of my collectors hang my artwork in their bedrooms, and the reason is that they want it to be the first thing they want to see when they wake up, and the last thing they want to see when they go to bed. I interpret my art like a having a window to nature that makes us happy.

Q: Why is the medium of art good for healing the soul?

A: Art for the soul is special. In this case, I incorporate images that have spiritual significance such as hummingbirds. These birds are a symbol of resurrection, a creature that opens the heart and teaches people to enjoy the magic of being alive. Also butterflies are a symbol of transformation and faith helping us undergo transitions and new beginning. Peacocks are a symbol of renewal and the peacock feathers have been used for thousands of years for healing purposes in many cultures. They are said to carry spiritual healing energy that can help people searching for balance and harmony in their lives.

Along with the composition, colour once again plays a big role when it comes to healing the soul. For example, purple is a colour of transformation and brings spiritual insights and renewal.

Q: How long have you been based in the UAE? Can you tell us a bit about where you used to be and what you were doing?

A: I have been living in Abu Dhabi for over three years now. My husband and I moved here from Los Angeles, CA where I had been working in the broadcast industry for over 20 years, I am also an EMMY winner television producer/writer. Now that I live in the UAE I can dedicate myself to my true passion, which is painting. I started to paint at the age of three and when I was eight years old I had my first exhibition at the Venezuelan Congress, my native country. I found a real home in this country due to the fact I have Arabic heritage on my mother’s side that originated in Lebanon, so I am a big lover of the Arabic culture and traditions, and in some ways this has also been an influence in my art.

Q: Other than the Etihad Modern Art Gallery this month, where can we see your art?

A: I am exhibiting now at the Etihad Modern Art Gallery and I will continue my association with them since they are representing my art, so there are plans for more exhibitions in the future under their management, but also people can view my art in my website or visit my Facebook page to know more about upcoming exhibitions.