There is scarcely a space on the walls of 4 West Street that hasn’t been filled with artwork. Tall windows let the sun into spacious rooms and vibrant studios, and the paintings seem almost to emit a glow. It is a glow that befits our community, and it is one of the many gifts the Hearts and Hands program, and L’Arche residents like Sachan Sarwal, has given to all of us.
Sarwal has been living in Antigonish for two years now. Slightly shy, with a playful side, and the undeniable qualities of an artist who has found his mode of self-expression and a true knack for showing it off. His thrilling paintings can be seen and purchased at the Tall and Small Café from now until the end of May. Using paint markers, Sarwal creates a grid of colored lines that buzz in the foreground of the painted canvass like neon in the dark. His paintings reflect, exactly, the kind of un-inhibited creative expression that is fostered at Hearts and Hands.
Steffi Drechsler was one of the key figures in the implementation of Hearts and Hands in 2009. Today, she runs the studio space. She explained that, behind Hearts and Hands, is the firm belief that each and every one of us is an artist.
“We strongly believe that we are all artists, and we also believe that any creative expression is beautiful, valued, and important,” she said.
When Sarwal first arrived in Antigonish, there was no clear indication that his mode of expression would be through painting. It could have been through music, dance, photography, sculpting or any of the mediums that are encouraged and practiced at Hearts and Hands.
“All the options are there, and together we discover which ones best suits the individual. We really encourage people to express themselves without filters. It’s about all of us experiencing joy, free creative expression and fun,” Drechsler said.
Hearts and Hands invites all of us to visit and join in the fun at any time. When people create together they also discover their connectivity to one another. It’s a powerful thing, and in so many ways, it’s being realized every day at L’Arche.
Come see for yourself. On May 26, at the Tall and Small, you can come say ‘hi’ to Sarwal, view his art, and meet with the people who are contributing to the unique glow of this community.