Out-of-the-Box Comments

Father Paul Satkunanayagam, SJ
Founding Director, Butterfly Peace Garden of Batticaloa

I worked with Canadian artist Paul Hogan for fifteen years nurturing and cultivating the Butterfly Peace Garden in Sri Lanka during a time of conflict and disaster. Paul’s creativity, courage and compassion have been a gift to our traumatized people devoid of dreams, in particular the youth of  Batticaloa. Sometimes the only way to deal with the tragedy of our times is through humour. Paul’s Out-of-the-Box Curriculum, based on the model we created together, provides the world with many subtle and profound ways of engaging its suffering through art and play.

Bowinneth Phem, psychologist, Netherlands / Cambodia
Founder of the Mango Tree Garden in Cambodia


To me and also to the Mango Tree Garden in Cambodia, Paul is a true teacher as he teaches us to be our own teacher. I am filled with so much joy and excitement to see how much healing art and in-depth play the Out-Of-The-Box Curriculum contains. I think this wonderful Toy can give the child (in us, as well) roots in this world and the adult wings to fly. This really is a masterpiece.

Rob Chase MSc MD
Dept of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Canada
Inventor of Vidaview Life Story Board


I worked closely with Paul in the early years of the Butterfly Peace Garden in Sri Lanka, pioneering expressive arts approaches for disadvantaged children in communities fractured with violence and militancy. Paul’s vision and metier, enriched by 20 years of shifting challenges, animator teams and activity refinements, is condensed in his Out-of-the-Box curriculum. He is a master of his craft, a process that merges self and community, play and reflection, light and depth. Behind this product and its pilot projects is a rich lifetime of experience and grounded wisdom.

Dr. James Orbinski MD, OC
Inaugural Director, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research
York University, Toronto, Canada

Art has many forms, and we need language and story and culture to express and give shape to a new story where we can see ourselves, where we can find ourselves, and where can prepare ourselves for the future. The toys in the Garden Path Out-of-the Box Curriculum fashioned in a time of war can help bring us all, adults and child alike, through art and play to better understanding and cooperation with one another.

Dr. Rosemary Barnes, Psychologist,
Toronto, Canada

Over and over – at the Spiral Garden in Toronto, and Butterfly Peace Garden, Monkey’s Tale Centre and Step-by-Step Studio in Sri Lanka – Paul’s work creates ways for children and adults to play together so that all can breathe, live, and heal, can find peace even in the midst of war.  And where in the world is there not war?  I’m very excited that the Garden Path Out-of-the-Box Curriculum will bring war-tested, heart nurturing practices to many more of us.

Susan Crean, author

To spend time with Butterflies in the Peace Garden is to see first hand the magic of healing through community. In this oasis of acceptance, in the company of Crow and Sam the pelican, art and creativity become a means of reconnection and regeneration. But also hilarity. That being Sam’s specialty.  Here, as at the Spiral Garden, the children become teachers, and the Out-of-the-Box Curriculum is their forward gift to others. 

Rev. Dr. John Van Eenwyk, Clinical Director
The International Trauma Treatment Program
Olympia, Washington, USA

Complex (severe) trauma disturbs the deepest layers of the mind. Cognition is largely unsuccessful in healing those layers. Immersion in transformative experiences is far more effective. That is best achieved through play.

Play circumvents defences and re-programs those dimensions of the mind that have become locked into trauma. Play also adapts to any culture. Paul Hogan is a master at designing play for healing trauma. For over thirty years—in Toronto and Sri Lanka—he has perfected his Out-of-the-Box curriculum. This highly effective protocol for treating complex trauma is now available to practitioners worldwide. I highly recommend it.

Elizabeth Dean Hermann, PhD
Professor Architecture / Landscape Architecture
Founder / Co-Director DESINE Lab@RISD
Rhode Island School of Design

Paul’s work, dating back to the 1990s, has played an essential role in Sri Lanka in terms of creating a safe space where children and their teachers in the war impacted zones have the ability to explore issues impacting their lives in ways that are non-threatening and cathartic. Paul’s programs use contemplative imagination, storytelling and creative play – all practices that are highly regarded in the medical professions. Paul brings to it his own rich imagination and passion, and is a master of drawing this out in others.