Art for Grief: Creative Ways To Grieve Death

by | Feb 21, 2024 | Building Blocks

Death is all over our video games, movies, and social media but we rarely actually TALK about death. Ex-hospice nurse Susan Oppie opened my eyes to how we can process grief.

Art of Grief Collage

In the vibrant city of Oakland, California, where emotions intertwine with rich culture, I found myself drawn into a profound exploration of grief. Susan Oppie, a registered nurse for over 20 years, with a specialty in hospice and end-of-life care met with the team here at BBG so we could learn more about how to talk about our losses in life. She is a co-founder of One Washcloth an organization that helps people who lose a loved one to care for the person after death and express their grief. She says the “Death Industry” can be more concerned about making money than helping us to express rituals that get us in touch with the profound feelings we have after someone dies. She says, even if we didn’t like the person who died, there is still a process we might feel about that person being gone. Susan showed me how art can be a powerful healer when dealing with loss. This sparked my interest and I created my “Art of Grief” project (see video below). This initiative is all about helping us use creative expression to navigate grief. You don’t have to be an artist to do it.

Inspired by Susan, I saw firsthand how art can offer comfort and understanding through the grieving process. Therefore I decided to visually represent my insights through a collage, mixing personal and global grief narratives, to highlight the varied dimensions of loss.

Podcast and Video

I chatted with Susan further in a podcast, which you can listen to here.

Grief, Art, and the Death Industry

The “Art of Grief” project, whether it’s the podcast, collage, or video, isn’t just about mourning; it’s an exploration of how creativity can foster growth and healing. I’ve seen the transformative effect of art on grief, underscoring that it’s a potent outlet for expressing complex emotions. My aim? To inspire artists and non-artists to see grief as a process.

Art can bring out our emotions, our memories, and our fears, and put it all down in ways we can manifest so others can see our pain (or we can see for ourselves). It can reveal the moments that bring us joy in remembering or sharing that special thing that made the person we miss unique. The collage I made as someone who has never made an art project helped me release my feelings. I created something from my grief.

In this video project, I explored the emotional power of memorial murals in Oakland, showing how art immortalizes loved ones while beautifying spaces with their stories.

How Art Can Help with Grief

BBGTV’s Spotlight Mini-Course

Are you looking to explore more? We’re thrilled to offer you a unique learning opportunity designed to ignite your curiosity and expand your knowledge. These engaging mini-courses are perfect for you if you’re seeking answers about topics like Letting Go Of Shame, Managing Your Anger, or Figuring Out Why Relationships are So Complicated. The courses are offered to users for free. They are anonymous (we never collect your personal data). Embark on a journey of self-discovery with BBGTV’s Spotlight Mini-Courses!

About Nasser Albaqqal

Nasser Albaqqal is a 22 year old immigrant from Yemen who has been working with BBG since 2022. A graduate of San Jose State University, he is passionate about empowering individuals, families, and organizations to bounce back from the effects of toxic stress and trauma. His goal is to spread knowledge and understanding about the power of resilience and provide practical tools and resources to help people rid themselves of bad habits as a response to stress. Through the work he does, Nasser hopes to create content and blogs that not only meet the needs of the audience, but also helps them build and launch long-term successful recoveries.


Our Sponsors

Your donation helps us reach kids and young adults who need it the most

For many of our youth, counseling, therapy, and access to psychological services are simply not there. We provide help 24/7 with resources, tools for self-care, and stories from those “who have been there" too. Your donation is a signal to youth that “you matter.”

Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get a free PDF of our workbook!
Receive a PDF copy of our 2024 workbook: "You and Stress: An Owner's Manual" when you join!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.