What does a world look like where art is no longer viewed as just for art’s sake but seen as a tool to provide healing, bring together communities and becomes a viable and respected career path for those who want it? Oriana Jemide, a fine artist, therapeutic art life coach and the founder of The Medela School, is redefining what a career in the creative field looks like as well as the positive influence it can have on our wellbeing.
The Medela School is a visual arts platform that facilitates art classes and workshops to help people improve their emotional and mental wellbeing. Oriana explains ‘I am passionate about eradicating the exclusivity of art by showing people the tangible impact it can have in their lives, not just through consumption but practice. I am a British Nigerian and second-generation creative entrepreneur in my family. Most people from my background are often encouraged to pursue academic careers because of job security. Fortunately for me, my Nigerian parents overcame that narrative by deciding to pursue their creative passions (my dad, a cake decorator and my mum, a screenwriter/poet) after finishing their academic degrees. Between helping my dad sketch out cake designs and going to film sets with my mum, I was immersed in the culture of creativity. I got the privilege to experience both the impact of creativity on one’s self-development and what it looked like to build a sustainable career doing creative work. Realising that not many people especially those who looked like me had the same opportunities is why I created The Medela School.’
Art has been used as a means of communication and self-expression dating back to ancient times, however somewhere along the human timeline it began to lose its significance with academic focus being highlighted as holding the most significance. Processing and communicating our thoughts and feelings amongst the chaotic demands of modern-day life can be challenging, but art therapy provides an uplifting, interactive solution to this. Reconnecting with our creative side is like reconnecting to our inner child. It is fun, freeing and encourages us to think outside of the box.
“Many of the participants we have worked with often share how our classes remind them of their primary school art class, helping them reconnect with fond childhood memories. It has become a great space for them to relax, reflect and see the value of art in their current lives. Some have even come back after a class to enquire about where to get materials so they can start painting regularly.”
In addition to increasing representation and promoting positive mental wellbeing, The Medela School is bringing people together with their community focused groups. Research on the benefits of art therapy suggest that creative practices alter our brains in a positive way, prompting new patterns in our cognitive processing, making this a great choice for team building exercises. The Medela School is an engaging alternative to the standard birthday get together, date night or baby shower, which is sure to impress and inspire those you bring along.
Art within the UK always felt primarily reserved for the privileged, but this is a truth that is being broken down and rewritten within our communities which are filled with talented creatives. It is innovative entrepreneurs such as Oriana who understand the significance of creating safe spaces for women like her, where creative abilities can be encouraged and nurtured. Sometimes all it takes is for one inspirational person to remind you that your talents don’t just have a valid place in the world but are paramount to the future of other creatives.
All information and services can be found here on The Medela School Website.
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