Dublin Samaritans’ latest campaign draws inspiration from a 500-year-old Japanese artistic practice

By on Friday, April 26, 2024

The Dublin Samaritans have launched a ground-breaking campaign that draws inspiration from the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi. The campaign aims to highlight that its services are available 24/7, 365 days a year, and that talking and being listened to can help to mend the fractures in our lives.

Literally meaning ‘joining with gold’, Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken pottery with a lacquer mixed with powdered gold, to make it more valuable for having been broken. The practice speaks to the philosophy of embracing the beauty of flaws, which inspired the visual metaphor of the Dublin Samaritans latest campaign.

For the Dublin Samaritans, embracing the cracks in our mental health can help us fix them. To show this, they enlisted artist Joe Caslin to make a mural of Cork-based author and mental health campaigner Daragh Fleming.

The portrait was deliberately created on a wall on Montague Lane in Dublin that had many cracks so that the public could see the cracked mural as they travelled through the busy walkway, before it was filled with the gold lacquer after a week. Just as broken ceramics become more beautiful with repair, our lives can also be transformed through connection and understanding. Alongside the mural, the Dublin Samaritans campaign included a poem from Daragh Fleming himself:

Mary McMahon, Director of Dublin Samaritans explains, “Having cracks is part of being human. We can’t fix people’s problems but having an impartial and non-judgemental listening ear helps people start to mend their cracks. By unveiling the Kintsugi-inspired mural, we hope to emphasise that healing and strength come from embracing our imperfections.

“In the call centre, we have a slogan, ‘If talking is silver – listening is gold’. We hope that callers will come to value their own journey, recognising that their flaws can be their strengths, to be treasured like gold.”

Visit Dublin Samaritans’ website here.

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