Adwoa Aboah and Gurls Talk Believe Art Can Help Our Mental Health During Lockdown

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From celebrities hosting live streams from their homes to weekly social media book clubs to family Zoom sessions, we’re all staying connected while practicing social distancing. And while being together yet apart is made easier by technology, it’s natural for loneliness and anxiety around the current coronavirus pandemic to creep in. Model, activist, and founder of online platform Gurls Talk Adwoa Aboah hopes to address these feelings through the recently launched #CopingTogether campaign, which promotes unity and wellness through artistic expression. Encouraging any and all to submit their work–whether it’s a painting, sculpture, piece of writing, video, or any other creative medium–Aboah and Gurls Talk hope to highlight positive coping techniques and provide a platform for girls to tell their stories. “Our [Gurls Talk] community have always been so great at sharing their lives through all different mediums and over the years I have continuously watched it bring us all closer together,” Aboah tells CR. “At a time when feelings of loneliness, uncertainty, frustration, and fear are all natural responses, art couldn’t be more vital.”

Since Aboah launched Gurls Talk via Instagram in 2015, it has grown into its own online platform where its inclusive community fosters a no-judgement zone to reflect on issues surrounding mental health, sexuality, body-image, identity, and more. The idea to provide a safe space for young women to tell their stories and connect with each other was born from Aboah’s own experiences with overcoming addiction and finding healthy ways to work through depression.

Through her journey, she also found that art was instrumental to her growth. “Over the years, especially in moments of struggle I have drawn on many different artistic forms to get me through,” Aboah says. While she has tried her hand at knitting, tapestry, pottery, and other arts and crafts, writing is Aboah’s preferred medium. With #CopingTogether, the model hopes to emphasize the therapeutic benefits of art and finding creative modes of expression, or even the act of simply trying a new one. “I would love to learn how to paint and draw properly, but what I’ve loved most during this time is giving it a go and not necessarily caring if the outcome is good or bad,” she shares. “The importance being in the sheer act of giving it a go.”

Boosting the conversation around #CopingTogether, the movement also features special guests such as actress Emilia Clarke, Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and singer Mae Muller. Each went live on the Gurls Talk Instagram to speak about how they are using art or other forms of expression in their time in self-isolation to process and reflect.

Gurls Talk has already shared a number of #CopingTogether submissions from around the world. From landscape paintings that provide a mental getaway to self portraits that remind us that a little (or a lot of) self-care is warranted right now, each work of art celebrates the ability to connect over this shared experience, while also recognizing the struggles it may bring. As #CopingTogether offers a platform during this uncertain time, it also presents an opportunity to foster a sense of connectedness that can extend beyond the current situation. “Art is proven to promote healthy, constructive, and positive coping techniques,” Aboah says, “and so I hope that by just giving it a go and getting involved we realize the importance in doing something to better ourselves. That it by no means needs to be a work of art, but the simple act in belonging and sharing within a community is what it’s all about.

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createdAt:Tue, 31 Mar 2020 19:51:28 +0000
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