Joan Jothi Saldanha
Jothi means light in Sanskrit. An homage to my Hindu Roots
I first discovered my love of all things art as a young child. Dealing with parental domestic abuse and alcoholism, I found myself alone and scared allot of the time. These feelings were further compounded with the fact that my family was one of 3 South Asian families in the small town that I grew up in. I used visual art, writing and music as outlets to express my pain, tell my story, and as a coping tool to help me process my life at the time. My art became my voice and the only way I felt I could be heard. Visual art, writing, reading and music allowed me to imagine worlds that I could create where I was free, happy, and seen. Creativity was a chance to change my narrative.
Now that I am a happily married mama of two, the importance of art as an expressive healing tool has taken on a much deeper meaning. The world we live in now is so different. The messages that our children are being bombarded with, the pressures to conform along with inter-generational trauma, mental health issues, the realities of poverty, and so much more, can be very overwhelming!
It is my mission to to show children, youth and families how visual art can help them to process pain, pressures, and break down social constructs, giving voice to many who do not have one! Art can be used to tell our stories and express our thoughts, emotions and perspectives. Arts education can be used as a platform, giving us a voice to be heard, to be seen and to heal. I want to share how art can help bridge this gap while engaging and healing our communities.
It is when we are heard that real healing can take place and our true purpose can be discovered.
Today, I continue to create art through commissions, exhibits and showcases. My grassroots organization, Eternal Springtime was birthed in 2016 and is evolving as I build key partnerships with local non-profit/community organizations, school boards, and parent/youth groups to develop and deliver healing arts programs to children, youth and families in the Greater Toronto Area. It is important that we, as leaders of colour, continue to see ourselves in public spaces to not only inspire and empower our young people, but to engage and captivate the community with our stories using art!