Research has proven that art has therapeutic, healing, and unitary effects on individuals, specifically those with trauma and PTSD (see this fascinating article on Healthline). Art is utilized in rehabilitation centers and public schools alike as a method of allowing human beings to channel their emotions in a positive manner with tangible outcomes. For artist Ernest Shaw Jr., the inspiration for his work stems from the desire to unite entire communities through this shared emotional catharsis.
The year is 2008. I am sitting on the sofa, looking unusually contemplative for a child as I watch my father vacuum the carpet. My contemplation is not aimed at my father or myself, but rather a specific component of his outfit: his shoes.