At Splice we know that a combination of connection and creativity is the key to healthy communities. We are now into our third year of our Heartful Arts Programme and the featured artist for this year is Mexican textile artist Victoria Villasana.

One of Victoria’s most famous pieces, “Boys Do Cry” is about breaking down male stereotypes. Heartful Arts project manager Maddy O’Dwyer says, “I knew our communities needed to hear this, because toxic masculinity contributes to our appalling suicide rates in young men”.

This internationally-acclaimed artist has been visiting New Zealand throughout May 2019 for a month of creative community development, visiting Wellington, Auckland,

Rotorua, and Northland towns Kaitaia, Kerikeri and Kaikohe. Visitors to her events were able to listen to her speak and create a beautiful piece of embroidery art using images of women such as Jacinda Ardern, Valerie Adams and Malala Yousafzai.

John MacDonald, Head of Mission for Splice believes that the world has been underestimating the impact of arts on our wellbeing. “The music, the colour, the words mooching around in our souls need a chance to spill into the world. Heartful Arts is an ideal vehicle for the healing journey.”

During her time here Victoria has been creating large public artworks with local communities, running workshops and sharing her knowledge. “I’m so grateful that my curiosity allowed me to find a way to express my heart through a creative medium and it’s a wonderful feeling that people are connecting with this.” says Villasana.


Our Heartful Artist for 2019 finished her time in Aotearoa with a large-scale mural in Cross Street in Auckland, being created with street artist Paul Walsh and members of the the public. The mural commemorates the 15 March 2019 Christchurch terror attacks. This piece will stay on display for the community to enjoy after Villasana returns home, to remind us all how Heartful Art helps us to connect with our creativity and our community.