2015 field notes
In the fall 2015 PCA delivered art & play activities at the same Tashkent pediatric cancer hospital as the year before. This time around, in addition to the art activities, PCA brought the fun of face painting. And here we have a good story to share:
As of the fall 2015, face painting was a largely unknown activity with the local culture, so children at the hospital were somewhat reserved to give it a try. Our founder and PCA volunteers explained the children about the fun of having faces painted and get "transformed" into their favorite characters, movie heroes, animals, and whatnot. Still, the prospects of face painting did not seem to be particularly impressive to children, and PCA folks did not insist and proceeded with just art and play work. But a few minutes later, unable to resist the novelty of the body art, curious children warmed up and started approaching us one by one, but allowing only their hands or forearms be painted, at first.
After some deep thinking, one brave little boy raised up and asked for our catalogue of face paint templates. Carefully looking through options to choose from, a character of a green dragon had particularly sparked his interest and (in a very serious tone) he asked: “If you paint this to my face, am I going to fly?”
The seriousness of the boy and the tone of his question (that felt more like him asking “if I let you paint my face, do you promise I’ll fly?”) was very humorous and made everyone in the room laugh. Our founder responded “Well, this is a great question, but I am afraid I do not know the answer... And the only way to find it out, is to give it a try!” The boy agreed. As Zukhra painted on his face, he sat rather tense and unsure what to expect, but once the process finished and he'd glanced in the mirror to see the results, his face got lit up with a radiant smile. Seeing the results on the 'pioneer' boy's face, a long queue of children had lined up inpatient to get their faces painted.
Making these children smile by shifting their focus from painful medical procedures and onto creative art practices, is what motivates the volunteers of ProCure Art to move their mission forward, albeit financial challenges and obstacles of international program implementation.