Times of Oman
Nov 29, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 04:38 PM GMT
Art Retreats run by Muscat-based artist Ibrahim Gailani joins hands with mental health clinic for a cause
June 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Muscat: The Whispers of Serenity Clinic run by mental health professional Janab Al Sayyida Basma Al Said, and the Gailani Art Retreats run by Muscat-based artist Ibrahim Gailani, announced that they have entered a partnership. According to the deal, the Whispers of Serenity has become the prime sponsor of Gailani Art Retreats. They will function under the banner of the clinic.

Both the partners have been involved in art-therapy, and have been using art to translate the thoughts of participants on canvas, for some time. The Gailani Art Retreats, that is housed in the City Seasons Hotel, have conducted over 14 retreats over the last year in Muscat, for over 130 participants.

The retreats, that have been a run-away success, initially started with only six paying members, and now run to packed workshops of 25 participants. The workshops, that were held only once a month earlier, are now being conducted bi-monthly, and with the growing wait-list, indications are that soon they will be conducted thrice a month. The retreats also regularly attract international tourists, who are looking for an 'art-escape' package. This is not the first collaboration between Basma and Gailani. Last year, they organised the 'I am Child' exhibition at the clinic that showcased art as a healing tool to overcome the trauma of child abuse. "There is so much synergy and fusion in the work that we do that our pairing was simply meant to be," he added.

Basma stated, "Having worked together, we knew that both of us shared a vision, and we nurtured a desire to make a change using art."

'Artistic escape'
The Gailani Art Retreats are a day-long 'artistic escape' retreat that are held monthly, and brings together creative souls to paint global music rhythms. Participants meditate, connect with their inner consciousness, paint their feelings on canvas, and then share it with the entire group. One does not need to be a trained artist for these retreats. They should be willing to let creativity flow. Photographers, musicians, writers, doctors and lawyers also attend the retreats to de-stress.  The clinic is more than just a mental health wellness clinic. It takes a holistic and non-medicated approach to mental well-being. Under the care of Basma, the clinic believes that peace of mind comes from mental and physical well-being.

At Whispers of Serenity, the professionally trained staff provides a wide range of services. At the centre of these services, the clinic provides mental health counselling and psychotherapy, marriage counselling, art and drama therapy for individuals, couples, families and groups, drama, and movement classes for kids and teenagers.

For Gailani, the success factor of the retreats has been the 'safe zone,' created by participants who seek to find answers. It is almost synonymous to a 'soul searching' experience. "To me, it is almost like a spiritual journey," said Gailani.

With Gailani Art Retreat joining hands with the Whispers of Serenity Clinic, short-term advance art-therapy retreats would be organised for smaller groups on challenging subjects. In addition, the retreat will focus on providing 'team-building' art-retreats for corporates, if market indications are anything to go by.

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