Meet Athena Kim: Using Art to Heal from Violence

1) How has art helped you heal from the violence you’ve experienced?  

AthenaKimAtHerArtExhibition

I am a survivor of child abuse, domestic violence, and rape with complex PTSD. During cognitive behavior therapy session, a psychologist asked me a question of how I was feeling and I didn’t know how to express it in words. One day, she handed me a piece of paper with crayons and asked me to draw anything without thinking. That was how my artist journey began. In my life, I have always done my best to make it happen with high IQ, natural talents, and work ethic as a gifted child. 

When I paint, I can set myself free from old conditionings and emotional scars; shame, guilt, negative thoughts and mood, overthinking, criticism, comparison, worries, anxiety, and intrusive memories.

 When I paint, I can set myself free from old conditionings and emotional scars; shame, guilt, negative thoughts and mood, overthinking, criticism, comparison, worries, anxiety, and intrusive memories. I am in the flow when I paint by instinct and let intuition guide me. It’s magical. There’s no planning or figuring things out which my consciousness is used to doing. Art creation is the opposite. It’s about being in the moment and letting it be. 

AthenaAtWork

It gives me such a cathartic experience with joy and freedom as a safe creative outlet to express my emotions and bodily sensations that I am unable to articulate in words fully. 

 

My work process has evolved from labor intensive drawing and self-portraits, to large abstract expressionism paintings with impasto techniques using ten to twelve layers of thick and heavy oil and acrylic paints. It gives me such a cathartic experience with joy and freedom as a safe creative outlet to express my emotions and bodily sensations that I am unable to articulate in words fully. I feel incredibly grateful and fulfilled with creating artworks expressing my emotions, and the experiences I have undergone.

Sharing my art helps me feel better connected to the world and relieves a sense of deep loneliness and isolation. 

Sharing my art helps me feel better connected to the world and relieves a sense of deep loneliness and isolation. My art comes from the invisible depth of true inner-self that has never been contaminated by any violence. It is connected to the infinite universe showing me the way in my integrated healing journey. It feels like the universal karmic destiny to me.

 

2) How did you first learn about W.O.M.A.N., Inc. & what has the experience been like?AthenaNewArtInstallation

I realized I needed to seek help after I had a series of flashbacks, panic attacks, depression, and nervous system dysregulation associated with triggers of unresolved past traumatic events when I was living with a narcissist boyfriend for six months in 2016. I crossed the Pacific ocean taking a huge leap of faith only to find myself subjected to gaslighting, threats, and emotional /financial abuse. I  searched online for domestic violence help. I made a call to W.O.M.A.N., Inc. and came for a consultation appointment to seek counseling therapy. 

It was helpful to receive a therapy within my capacity. I’ve felt welcomed and safe to navigate my healing journey despite a lot of ups and downs with significant instability and vulnerability. I am very thankful for the services I’ve received as a client. It has taken courage to reach out asking for help and discipline to make it once a week with determination. It was worth every effort.

My experience with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. has been positive. I’ve received great support from my therapist, Jennifer Knox, while I was seeing her for several months at sliding scale. It was helpful to receive a therapy within my capacity. I’ve felt welcomed and safe to navigate my healing journey despite a lot of ups and downs with significant instability and vulnerability.  I am very thankful for the services I’ve received as a client. It has taken courage to reach out asking for help and discipline to make it once a week with determination. It was worth every effort.

Instagram:
Facebook: Athena Kim Art
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2 thoughts on “Meet Athena Kim: Using Art to Heal from Violence

  1. Athena, it is so wonderful that you are able to turn something so devastating into something so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey, and your art. Please know that my hopes and encouragement follows you on your journey.
    Wyn.

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