For the past 3 years Jim Scullion has devoted some of his time every Saturday morning and the occasional weekday to working with a charity organisation named PETAL (People Experiencing Trauma and Loss) an organisation which works with and supports people who have lost family members to murder and/or suicide. In that period Jim has been working with a group of Young People aged between 5 and 21 in an art project. The group has been through numerous art workshops with Jim and in recent months have been working on an emagazine which they hope will appeal to young people and their parents. The magazine is called Ballucan (pronounced Be All You Can). Jim’s website can be viewed here.
I was very pleased to hear that Graeme and Craig are undertaking this venture as a special tribute to Jane and the things she loved. I was also overwhelmed by the fact that they wish to help the Children’s Art Group at PETAL.
A few years back BBC Children in Need sponsored me to go around Scotland working with groups of children experiencing problems. I would go into schools , youth groups, charities, voluntary organisations and social work agencies and use my artwork workshops to tackle a whole range of problems including racism, sectarianism, domestic violence , substance abuse, and bullying. These workshops were designed around different issues. The aim was to build children’s confidence, help their communication, challenge inappropriate behaviour and attitudes and to allow the young people the opportunity to express themselves through creativity. In every workshop I worked alongside staff or volunteers from the respective organisations and worked with them to continue the work after I left as I could only devote 6 weeks to each organisation.
As part of this project, I became involved with PETAL—6 weeks quickly grew into 3 years. Such a short time could not do justice to this group of young people, so I continue to devote my Saturday morning to this group and will do so for a long time to come.
The young people in the art therapy group are very focused on their ambitions and do not want to see their parents or themselves being victims for life due to someone else’s actions.
At one group very early on in this process when the kids were still finding it difficult to work as a group and some of them even finding it difficult to speak at all, one young girl stated that she had seen a film called “The Bucket List” and she felt everyone should have a bucket list in order to keep their lives focussed and to have something to live for. She also felt that when you did everything on your bucket list you would love some of them so much they would have to go back on the list.
A few weeks later we all wrote,or drew and discussed our bucketlist. And everyone had on their list that they wanted to go to the city of the Artists, Paris and visit Disneyland at Halloween. From that day we have have fundraised the required amount and in October will visit Paris for Halloween.
I felt that it was important that I let everyone know what we do and why we do it, and also to let Graeme and Craig know that what they are doing for Jane is amazing.
In my recent book I describe myself as not a self-taught artist but someone who studied with the masters. I did this, and continue to do this by travelling the world and spending time with great works of art. In Graeme’s tribute to Jane, he mentions Jane and him standing together, just the two of them, alone with ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’. I can fully appreciate Graeme’s feelings about that special moment. No one can ever take that moment from him.