June 23 - December 23, 2011
Haven Art Gallery
239 East 121st Street
New York, NY 10035
"Seeking Wholeness" is the sixth exhibition by members of the Odyssey House Art Project, a collective of artists in residential treatment for substance use disorders and mental health problems. This year's show explores mandalas as symbols of recovery and community. Artists were encouraged to use a variety of media, including painting, photography, needlepoint and a hand cranked spinning wheel, to capture the spirit embodied in these ancient images and portray how they continue to resonate and guide individuals in search of balance and wholeness.
Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning "circle." In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be used as a spiritual teaching tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation. Preeminent psychologist Carl Jung saw the mandala as "an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the Self." He encouraged his patients to create them as "movement towards psychological growth, expressing the idea of a safe refuge, inner reconciliation and wholeness."
Odyssey House has an active and vibrant expressive arts program. Creating art helps residents find new ways to access feelings and a new medium to express these feelings. Many residents, who were socially and culturally isolated by their addiction and mental illness, are encouraged to become engaged in the creative process. For residents in recovery at Odyssey House, developing positive socialization and personal interactions are integral to their continued growth.