Matt – Batam


Matt – Batam

Matt is a 17 year old boy who lives in Batam (Indonesia). When his mother passed away, he was sent to live in a Children’s Home. Along with other children, Matt was referred to art therapy as part of The Red Pencil Batam STEP 1 humanitarian mission.

The school principle decided to send Matt to art therapy because Matt has trouble expressing himself and takes a long time to be able to talk about the issues and problems that he was facing. Even though his classmates saw him as a cheerful and helpful friend, his experiences left him with intense emotions that he did not know how to deal with.

Matt was given 7 art therapy group sessions and 2 open studio sessions over 2 weeks. One of the main tasks was to create a self-box (Sessions 2-4). This box would represent Matts outer self (outside the box) and inner self (inside contents of the box).

The first photo shows the self-box that Matt created in session 2. When the last session of box making came around, to everyone’s surprise, Matt painted the entire outer surface black. He then started to draw a skull and shredded some coloured confetti which he put inside the box. He then told the group that the box “is a bomb” and the inside “is a rainbow”, and that when the bomb goes off, a rainbow would be revealed. 

With the help of art therapy sessions, Matt showed his artistic process and how the colours, use of paints, and symbolism helped him heal. He learned to use art as a way of expressing what he felt and was able to reflect on these difficult emotions.