The human face is invariably a compelling subject matter for art. What we see in the human visage can generate a wide range of emotions, and open us to fresh understanding of ourselves and of others.
Bernard Racicot works in downtown Montreal. He is part of Innovation an arts initiative under Christian Direction – an inner city urban ministry. Not a day goes by for this artist, without coming into contact with someone who is “down and out” on the street. He says that each day he tries to allow these people to speak to him, particularly to his heart.
“When I sit down and listen to them, I am reminded of the fragile nature of our souls that God is seeking to protect and cherish.”
For about a year now, Bernard has been participating in an art therapy workshop for street people. The time spent with them is greatly valued, he paints his canvasses and works to help them with theirs. Many of these people he works with are stimulated in their creativity by this opportunity to paint and they are encouraged socially through doing these activities together.
Bernard is inwardly drawn to painting the people that he meets in his inner city work. He says that “watching them stops me from complaining about my own lot in life. I listen and I let God have His way in my heart through these individuals. Sometimes I meet them on the street, or… they may end up in my living room… on the wall.”
Here is art work engendered by human encounter, it is work that affirms the ‘other’ and speaks to the value of human relationships.