Seeing the darkness, looking for the light
48 emotion-charged illustrations for telling our stories, owning our shadows and finding ways forward.
Shadows and Deeper Shadows is an emotionally charged set of 48 watercolour images. This resource acknowledges that pain and suffering (such as grief, depression, loss and violence) often need to be storied before pathways to resolution can be found.
The cards invite viewers to reflect on their experiences—to identify and explore the meaning of shadows in their lives. The images in the cards offer sufficient ambiguity for people to create the endings to their stories that are true for them. Contained in the images are subtle suggestions for hope and light, but they are there only if the viewer chooses to see them as appropriate.
The images for the cards were created by award-winning artist, Carolyn Marrone, who specialises in painting everyday situations with great compassion and sensitivity. For over a decade, the simplicity and depth of her images has made them intriguing and useful to many people. Originally published as a set of twelve cards, this fully revised and expanded edition features an additional 36 images.
- Exploring fears and sorrows: Can you pick one card that says something about what is making you anxious or fearful? Can you say where this anxiety or fear comes from? Is the fear always there or does it come and go?
- Exploring the shadows in our lives: Is there a card that ‘speaks’ to you in some way? What does this picture mean for you? Does this picture describe or suggest events from your past? Are these events clear or hazy? Are they painful to talk about?
- Reflecting on practice: Use the Shadows cards with a colleague to think more deeply about a question, incident or concern. Can you choose a card that resonates in some way for you? What made this card stand out? What thoughts and feelings do you have about it? What does this say about the assumptions and values that are important to you? How does this connect to how you see yourself as a worker?
- Creative writing: The Shadows images represent people, situations and moods, but what do you notice when you bring your other senses to the pictures? What are the sounds, the smells, the textures, that permeate the images? Choose a card and write a piece where you put yourself in the picture. Feel the breeze in your hair, smell the wet footpath, hear the screaming kids in the car!
Shadows and Deeper Shadows has been carefully designed as a resource that human service workers can use to help others describe and deal with their pain and sorrow. It does not come with a rulebook. But it does need to be used with acute sensitively and regard for timing. The person using the cards should always be able to decide what they want to discuss and when is the appropriate moment.
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