The Big Draw Festival 2023: Drawing with Senses

The 2023 Big Draw Festival theme #DrawingwithSenses changes the focus from external to internal, exploring the way we personally process the world and internalise our experiences through our senses. This is a great year to look at the 5 basic senses: Touch, Sight, Sound, Taste and Smell and experiment with these and those you are less familiar with to transpose your experiences into creative work and drawings in 2023.

The last few years huge external forces have impacted our lives. These external forces are beyond our control and can feel overwhelming. If we bring things back to the moment, to the sense of self, and what we are experiencing in the moment, then things can start to feel less threatening and can start to feel more positive.

In addition to these 5 physical senses there are other senses to consider: Subtle senses, which have a different physiology. Some are receptive to energetic information from our environment, ‘extra sensory perception’, an inner knowing, sometimes referred to as the ‘Sixth Sense’. It can manifest in dreams or feelings ‘gut instinct’. Alberto Giacometti believed that the eyes were window to the soul, and in his drawings, you see intense working around the eye area of his portraits, as the rest of the face becomes stripped back – he believed in trying to capture the essence of a person.

Other cultures identify further senses, such as the ‘inner 5 senses’ identified in Sufiism, and the interplay with these and the physical senses: mutiṣarrifa - the inner sense of our judgements; mushtarika - common sense; hāfiẓah – memory, using all senses to activate it; wāhima - visions or dreams; mutakhayyila, - imagination, which activates all our senses. For The Big Draw Festival 2023, ‘Drawing with Senses’ is about choosing to experience the world through your senses; the ones you are familiar with, and the ones may be less so. Selecting the information gathered from using single or multiple senses, to transpose this experience into ‘drawings’ and using senses as you execute the drawing: Drawing with Senses.

However you choose to approach this, have fun and enjoy the process!

Find our full press release here.


A message from The Big Draw Executive Director, Jane Barnes on The Big Draw Festival 2023 Theme, 'Drawing with Senses':

"I feel excited to share with you this year’s theme, my first in my new role as Executive Director of The Big Draw. 2023’s theme ‘Drawing with Senses’, changes the focus from the external to the internal. It gives us the opportunity and permission to find a stillness in the chaos and overwhelm we’ve been bombarded with over the last few years, where things have felt beyond our control. It brings us back to the ‘moment’, to ‘this moment’ and the way we personally experience, process and internalise the world through our senses, sharing this through our creativity.

Being fully present in the ‘moment’ with our senses, means we are not worrying about the past and not fearing the future. We can be fully immersed in what is happening now, feel less stressed, feel more positive, because we feel we have more control over our thoughts. This positivity can be a step change, becoming infectious, spreading more positivity throughout the world, making us less susceptible to overwhelm.

 ‘The entire universe is inside you’ - Rumi

I love this quote by Rumi – if the entire universe is inside us, then it seems a great place to start, by turning our attention inwards. There are so many ways you can interpret ‘Drawing with Senses’, which we have outlined for you. You can choose the familiar senses or explore senses you are less familiar with, learning about how senses are used in different practices and cultures, translating the experiences into drawings.
However you choose to approach this theme, feel inspired, have fun and enjoy the process!
And don’t forget to submit your work for the Big Draw Festival Awards 2023!"

Jane Barnes

Executive Director, The Big Draw 

Become a Big Draw Festival Organiser in 2023! Registrations are now open for The Big Draw Festival 2023: Drawing with Senses! Read more on the benefits of becoming a Big Draw Festival Organiser here.

Already convinced? Sign up to become a Big Draw Festival Organiser here.

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