POLYPHONYJournal of the Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists
Visuals Gallery Observations

POLYPHONIC Gallery - A Space for Creative Expression

Published on Sep 11, 2023

May Theme: A work you have made that captures why you became a creative arts therapist

Admit One

Rowena Keaveny/Art Therapist

Image: ‘Admit One’, Collage, Digital print on archival paper. 2012

About: When I applied to the Art Therapy MA in Cork in 2013, we were asked to bring an artwork we had made to the interview and discuss it. I had originally chosen a different image but changed my mind on the way, as I felt this best represented the way in which I wanted my art therapy practice to develop.

The image is from a series of works called, ‘Hysterical’ that asked, “Does the patriarchal medical model still oppress women, through the application of psychiatric labeling, in the same way as it did in the Nineteenth Century?”

By focusing primarily on the female experience of medical intervention, I wanted to examine whether the increasing medicalisation of Western health systems negatively impacts a woman’s autonomy over her own body and instead instills a form of social control through the prescription pad or label of diagnosis.

Materials: Through the use of digital collage prints, model making, photography, and animation, I explored whether medicine has a primary position of power that enables it to define the existence of ‘illness’ and its subsequent separation into either a physical or psychological state of being.
My work as both an artist and art therapist uses digital media, photography, animation, and socially engaged practice to explore the diverse issues surrounding social inclusion, disability, neurodivergence, and access to cultural participation by marginalised groups.

Date: This work was made in 2012 and was supported by an Arts and Disability Ireland Award administered by the Arts and Disability Forum on behalf of the Arts Council and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Contact: rowenakeavenyarttherapist@gmail.com 

Share Your Work-in-Progress


Artist Name/Modality: Rowena Keaveny/Art Therapist

Image: ‘Eclipse’, digital print made on an iPad. Dec 2022

About: This image is taken from a new series of digital works that explores the integration of traumatic memory, restoration, and recovery experienced through the therapeutic process.  Although verbal communication can be an important element of art therapy, clients often don’t have the vocabulary to express the trauma they have experienced through language, Image-making provides a space in which play, imagination, recognition, understanding and meeting previously unmet needs can create a framework from which emotional repair can develop.

'Eclipse’ portrays a phased trauma-focused approach, visually summarising; 1) Stabilisation and symptom reduction, 2) Understanding how the original trauma impacts day-to-day living, and 3) Integration and meaning-making.

Materials: The image started as a simple illustration of a brain using made a pressure-sensitive pen on an iPad. I wanted to capture a sense of movement or phases to reflect therapeutic progress so I transferred the image to my laptop and used a photo editing program to ‘Glitch’ the image. I then re-coloured it which gives it a sectional appearance.  I’m hoping to exhibit the work when it is completed.

Date: December 2022-current

Contact: rowenakeavenyarttherapist@gmail.com