Illustrations by María Jesús Contreras are here to help make anxiety pain more manageable

“I like to draw more than anything, I try to draw everything I think about,” says María Jesús Contreras. For the Chilean artist, it is very exciting that something that is not necessarily interesting in everyday life can be fascinating within a drawing. “I can give importance to a sentence that I hear around me, or to small forgotten objects.”

Maria always wanted art to be the source of her work, “but in Chile, if you’re not an engineer or a doctor, you’re a bit lost”, she tells me – not far from my own Arab upbringing, so I can understand what she means. Maria was a good student. She thought it was selfish to think only of herself and study the arts, because all education in Chile is private. So she enrolled to study engineering but dropped out because she cried every lesson. Instead, she ran off to the circus… not really, but it was something similar: graphic design, at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

“Sometimes I feel so lucky and grateful for the opportunities I’ve had that I’m ashamed, and hurt thinking there are people who deserve it more than me,” says Maria, her down syndrome. piercing impostor, another common sentiment for many. artists. “It also reminds me of all the other people in South America like me who can’t always have a career in the arts because of fear and lack of opportunity.”

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