Living on the west coast of Canada has provided me with a tremendous gratitude for the first nations' artwork found throughout the public spaces in my community. It's incredible witnessing the interaction of artwork, and the general public, on a daily basis. Some individuals will simply stop and stare at the totem poles, or approach cautiously to touch and interact in a tactile nature. The poles themselves have such a tremendous symbolic representation of complex emotions - they were crafted for status or power, as a memorial or tribute to important families or groups, or viewed as a ritualistic endeavor. This made me think about crafting my own personal totem pole which serves perfectly for this creative posting.
Found objects that will be used for the foundation of my personal totem pole
Rather than carving a totem pole, which would have been the traditional method for the First Nations', I choose to draw / color my images and place them onto the totem. In this case there were six images that came to mind while I reflected back on my practicum experience: The "Band-Aid", "stethoscope", and "paint set" represent two types of healing, the traditional medical system approach and that obtained through participation in the creative arts. The "hands" represent the connection shared between myself and the patient. The "butterfly" and "dragonfly" represent the changing patient population, one shaped by the terminal medical conditions that they have.
Completed work - my personal totem pole
This practicum experience has allowed me to gain a tremendous insight into the lack of holistic care provided in a traditional medical system approach to healing. Having opportunities for patients to complete the creative arts will help them become "better" which may not necessarily mean a physical improvement, but they are able mentally feel they are being cared for much more appropriately. It has been an honour to care for the patients I have encountered in this practicum and this totem pole commemorates this.