Art as Medicine

Being a Flower in the Garden of the Human Collective

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Yayoi Kusama's Flower-Filled Installation Has Art Lovers Seeing Red in the National Gallery of Victoria 

I recently read about an interactive art installation by Yayoi Kusama called Flower Obsession. I was immediately taken by the images and description of the project. Visitors were invited to place a fake daisy anywhere they chose on a blank backdrop of an all-white apartment. Over the life of the installation more than half a million flowers were placed by individual participants onto the three-dimensional canvas. The result was magnificent!

I saw the installation as a reflection of life and how we get to choose how we show up in our world. I also reflected on how individual actions as part of a collective effort can nurture the soul through shared joy and a sense of community.

With anxiety, isolation, and stress being the biggest threats to our health and wellness, I saw this installation as an elixir.

The participants began by observing and contemplating the installation as they found it. Then they considered the location and placement of their daisy. Finally, after placing their daisy, they were able to step back, enjoy the moment and reflect on their unique contribution to a collective work of art.

Flower Obsession allowed each contributor to not only be an artist, but to also be the art. Each flower became a unique identifier of a series of individual thoughts, preferences, emotions and actions reflecting each participant’s desired expression of themselves to the world.

Participatory art is a gorgeous way to illustrate the beauty and oneness of the human collective. It allows individuals to express themselves and possibly even learn something new about themselves. It also underscores the importance of community, the innate joy of self-expression, and the personal fulfillment generated from actively contributing to a common effort.

Connection, self-expression, and joy are fundamental to the health and wellness of the human mind, body and spirit. A seemingly easy prescription that’s surprisingly hard to fill.

Every day each of us places our flowers on the communal canvas of life. Our actions and interactions have the power to add splashes of color to an otherwise harsh and barren landscape. If we truly want life to be a masterpiece, we must commit to the thoughtful placement of our energy and actions.

Just like in the art installation, we each get to choose how we present ourselves, as in where and how we want to show up in life. It is one of the few things we actually get to control and change at will.

Whether you are a seedling still contemplating your journey of self discovery, a bud in the middle of a journey of healing and growth, or a full-blown flower and the master of your universe, every one of us has something beautiful to offer to the world.

Be a flower everywhere you go and watch yourself and the world blossom.

Originally published at

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