The role of collective symbols as enhancing resilience in children's art

Ephrat Huss, Orit Nuttman-Shwartze, Avital Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This paper contributes to understanding the experience of forced relocation for children, and offers a new reading of their art, adding concepts of resilience to art analyses, and also contextualizing drawing assessment within a cultural perspective. Forced relocation of people from their homes due to changes in borders, war or natural disasters has been recognized in the literature as a stressor which has affected communities throughout the world. However, the responses of latency-aged children to these stressors have not been sufficiently addressed. In an attempt to fill that gap, this article presents a phenomenological and diagnostic analysis of drawings made by Israeli children aged 7-9 who were evacuated from localities in the Gaza strip area. The drawings indicate that the experience of forced relocation remained a significant one for the children, even 2 years after the event. The children's drawings reveal the difficulties they experienced, as well as the coping strategies that they used to work through the experience and adjust to the situation. The children included numerous ideological statements in their drawings, which evidently reflect an attempt to understand the meaning of the relocation, and emphasize their group affiliation. As a result, this paper demonstrates that it is important to include the components of ideology, community, and family in evaluations of children's art work in order to evaluate children's constructive coping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2012


  • Child art analyses
  • Forced relocation
  • Intercultural art therapy


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