Even though this community project became quite monumental, it all started with a simple act. Something we sometimes take for granted, but can make a huge difference. Gratitude affects people beyond reason, with hundreds of research papers on its positive effects to prove it. Although we may consider it an act so small it has no impact, the smallest act can bring out the best in all of us.
"I started practising gratitude over two years ago and just regained force with the program. I used to do it with my son, he was six at the time. My mum passed away five years back and at the time it was really difficult. I had other personal issues too including losing my job - everything seemed to compound on me. The notion of gratitude got me through this painful period. Just seeing other people's contributions makes you feel grateful. It's humbling and uplifting to see how little things work."
The myriad of stories this project encompasses are beyond imagination. It's impressive to think that a blackboard, where you can write what you are grateful for, would have such an international appeal and such a positive one. As we progress the interview, the artist shares some of the stories gathered and how they have impacted upon her:
"I have stories of people who got out of addiction. People whose parents were in hospital and unlikely to come out. I took the wall to refugees and migrants, to global peace gatherings and they all had stories to tell. I have thousands of photographs too, because we take pictures of all the contributions. We have analysed the top five topics, and they all centre around family, friends and health.
The moment of seeing two people write something for each other is also very special, seeing their faces light up. It's pure joy to read other people's contributions and have people telling me their stories that otherwise, I’d never know."
The Gratitude Wall is brimming with hope and narratives that keep on giving. It makes us reflect, look back and be grateful for what we have, inciting us to walk forward with confidence and gratitude in our hearts.