When art speaks louder than words

Taranaki artist Marita Green reflects on how the creative community captured the grief of the Christchurch terrorist attack.

This week a 25-year-old part time illustrator from Wellington, Ruby Jones, made an artwork that graced the cover of Time magazine. It’s a moving and powerful illustration that captures a multitude of feelings and emotions.

There have been many wonderful words that have been written and spoken these last days about the tumultuous effect of Friday March 15t, but for me it’s the images that have given my heart a voice.

For creative souls (and that’s really all of us), words alone might not be enough, or they simply escape us, and we hold that rattle-y feeling inside.

I know that Ruby Jones’ initial artwork of the hugging women immediately spoke to me in a way that a thousand words never could. It said everything in an instant from a place of deep feeling, and it was what I wanted to say to the world too.

I feel grateful that her artwork gave me a voice and a vehicle of expression.

And I’ve noticed that there have been different artistic expressions: At the Candlelight Vigil at the Bowl we listened to an incredibly beautiful and heart-wrenching poem written by young Taranaki Muslim woman Saba Afzal.

I saw a picture in the Herald of a Christchurch girl performing a song she wrote.

Kirk Hargreaves’ haunting photograph of our Prime Minister wearing a hijab.

These creative acts not only serve the audience, but I’m sure the act of making them was deeply cathartic for the artist too. Processing feelings happens during the course of creation.

On Monday last week I had a blank white tumbler in my hand, not destined for anything specific, so I drew some things on it that seemed to help me work through Friday.

I’ve worked and re-worked the design four times over since then, on different forms, and I think the process is my way of shedding tears (I’m an introverted non-talker by the way).

It’s not romantic indulgence, but a tangible language that many of us would prefer to speak as we work through our own inner jumbles.

I hope however you’ve chosen to express yourself, it leads to healing, compassion and peace.

By Marita Green

Marita Green