Crossing Cultures: Introducing Child Art Therapy to India

A Symposia Hosted by Bambino Educational Trust

The Savera Seminar in Chennai, India represents a seminal event in the development of the art therapy profession in India. The 2007 conference is a collaborative effort of the Bambino Educational Trust, and art therapist Sangeeta Prasad, pioneering art therapist Dr. Judith Rubin, and Dr. Gaelynn Wolf Bordanaro, former Chair of the international aid organization CHART.

This unique video offers foundational information on art therapy and developmental art stages, and the connection between art therapy and art education. The speakers highlight the usefulness of engaging children in the arts as a tool to understanding their world view and experience.

The film begins with Prasad’s personal account of her own career development in art therapy to an audience of educators and social service professionals. Rubin expertly recalls experiences from former clients with clarity and encyclopedic memory. Prasad brings in cultural considerations, with specific reference to children served by the Bambino school and other local institutions.  Her message is that adaptability should exist in art therapy (“You cannot take something that’s done in the west and just apply it in the east…Someone asked me what is 60 lb. [paper]? Don’t worry about these [guidelines]…Sometimes our tables are smaller…our culture uses more smaller spaces. Smaller sheets are fine.”) Prasad engages in discussion on adapting art therapy to Indian culture. A gem is Prasad sharing her “Tree of Art” from her book Creative Expressions (2008), a tool she developed to illustrate the salient components in the process of art making. Prasad includes results from her creative Dream House project, including samples of art from an international audience.

This film is a thoughtful overview of the field of art therapy with children in specific cultural setting.  It is also a historical and cultural record of foundation establishment of the art therapy field in India. It is framed by a recent interview of Sangeeta Prasad, who discusses the evolution of her efforts to bring art therapy, which she studied in the U.S., to her homeland. This seminar was just the beginning.

Commentary by Sangeeta Prasad, ATR-BC

Total Running Time: 3 hours, 13 minutes, 27 seconds



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