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With Journey, Tramaine de Senna created a colorful and playful installation within the safe environment of a new Therapeutic Atelier (abbreviated as TheA), a department of the AZ Sint-Maarten in Mechelen.
TheA is a day unit for child and youth psychiatry within the hospital, where short-term, intensive, therapeutic day treatments are offered to children and young people with psychological problems or developmental difficulties. Tramaine de Senna (°1981, California) was commissioned to create a work of art tailored to that context. TheA often works with music and movement therapy, and visual art is a rewarding medium that can distract young people's attention in a playful way. The design of the new building should not feel like a place for healing, but rather like a place where young people feel at ease. The art assignment for the central space had to reinforce that feeling.
Tramaine de Senna created a playful, colorful installation of hanging images and an impressive textile work on the wall. The work was installed in the central foyer and was entitled Journey. Journey evokes numerous associations that stimulate the imagination. The artist generally uses soft, cuddly materials with great appeal in her work. Here too, different types of textiles were used to create a cozy atmosphere.
Tramaine de Senna was primarily inspired by the time she spent observing and listening, in order to better understand how to best help vulnerable young people today. She translated that trajectory into a number of symbols that playfully float in space. Three symbols represent the three age categories used in TheA: the frog for the toddlers, the raised thumb for the slightly older children and a wink to the teenagers. The other symbols – a golden sun, a silver moon, a boat and a hot air balloon – are reflected in a large 3D textile work on the wall. We see a landscape where day turns into night. A large water feature cuts through a hilly green landscape, with mountains in the distant background. Hot air balloons float between the golden clouds. On the water, majestic ships sail out of the harbor. It is a landscape that symbolizes the journey to known and unknown places. Day passes into night. The journey symbolizes the psychological quest of the patients.
The landscape is bordered on the left and right by a classical architecture of columns that are mirror images of each other in shape and shadow. This architecture was not designed haphazardly, but literally goes back to a painting by Antoon Van Dijck (1599-1641), depicting Saint Martin. That painting still hangs in the parish church of Zaventem today. The AZ in Mechelen took its name from that saint and hung a reproduction of the painting in the main building of the hospital. Van Dijck painted a young Martinus de Tours during one of his long journeys. When the charitable man enters the city gates of Amiens, he sees a poor beggar. He promptly cuts up his traveling cloak and shares it with the beggar. The architecture in Van Dijck's painting is repeated by Tramaine de Senna in the textile work, as an ode to 'caring for each other'.