Art Therapy


Fragments of a Critical Statement

Rational and research realised for the project Piece by Piece

I decided to embark on a journey to create a 15 minute documentary about the benefits of mosaic art as a therapeutic relief method.

The inspiration for this project came from assisting in the realization of the Mosaic Project for the High Rise Apartments organized by Worcester Housing Community under the creative directions of mosaic artist Victoria Harrison and artist and art therapist Pam White. At first I was attracted by the notion of mosaic art as a durable art-form and how its permanent nature allows us to glance 4000 years in the past and be certain that creating a mosaic piece means imbedding a signature that will last for generations to come.

As Keith Beattie (2004) states “The documentarian draws on past and resent actuality – the world of social and historical experience – to construct an account of lives and events”, I therefore started looking into ancient mosaic representations, materials and uses. There could not have been any relevant interpretation of modern tile art without the understanding of the historical context and reasons for which this type of craft was used throughout the world. From ancient Mesopotamia, to Hellenistic villas and from Roman temples to Christian churches we can see an array of styles and interpretations of textures, patterns and narratives take life in the shimmering and vast complexity of mosaic decorations. Mosaic reference from book/article

Mosaics were clearly designed by craftsmen hired by wealthy families belonging to Europe’s empires, as decorations for floors and walls and depicted important scenes from daily life, legends, and landscapes. But mosaics were used as embellishments for several religious buildings as well, such as churches, mausoleums, synagogues, and incorporated into Islamic architecture.

Upon talking with the mosaic artist I found that her passion for this type of craft started from an early age and that she found comfort and pleasure in gathering, arranging and making an end result out of bits and pieces found in the natural world such as pebbles and seashells. After looking into the methods of realizing a mosaic I felt more attracted to why people enjoy this craft so much. Thus I came across the actual intrinsic value that this craft can offer. The majority of people coming to our Friday community group were not artists, were not looking into learning the technique of creating mosaics but were there to heal.

There are several conflicting views on the matter and even though assumptions are being made that arts do not prove as important in recuperation there are cases that prove otherwise.

Specialist in the field of neuroscience Dr.Konopka (2014) discusses the connection between art and biological science and states that “Treating human pathology using art gives us a tremendous alternative, unique and novel option for engaging brain networks that enhance the way the brain processes information, incorporates external and internal data, and develops new efficient brain connections.” Dr.Konopka also underlines the importance of understanding that this type of therapeutic treatment faces the barrier of pinpointing the exact ways in which art influences the brain and therefore has a positive outcome on the patient. Therefore more studies are necessary to prove the effects of art on brain function to gain more credibility and acceptance.


Reference list:

  • Beattie K. (2004) Documentary Screenplay Palgrave Macmillan, NY.
  • Konopka, Lukasz M. (February 1, 2014) Where art meets neuroscience: a new horizon of art therapy, Source: Croatian Medical Journal. Accessed online: [Accessed: 6 May 2014]
  • Alan Rosenthal, (2002) Writing, directing, and producing documentary films and videos, Southern Illinois University Press Carbondale and Edwardsville, USA.
  • Carlton, Natalie R. (February 2014) Digital culture and art therapy, Taos, NM, United States, Accessed online: [Accessed 25 March 2014]
  • Sheila Curran Bernard, (2007) Documentary Storytelling, Elsevier Inc., Second Edition, USA.
  • Ervin Goffman, (1986) Frame Analysis, Northeastern University Press.



Piece by Piece