It is hard to disagree with the simple fact that there is much in our world that we wish wasn’t there: violence, pain, suffering, injustice... the list could go on. I strongly believe that in order for lasting social change to be possible, we need to learn how to create new things out of what is there, that means: the good, the bad and the “crappy” of the world. Today, the Cattleya team had a lovely training session with our friend and colleague Miguel Cortes from the Fred Newman Center, who with his experience working both as a therapist and community activist in Ciudad Juarez for many years, further contextualized the work we are doing with The Cattleya Project.
Since September of this year, we have been implementing a weekly-workshop in Sin Violencia A.C., a women’s shelter housing women and children escaping severe domestic violence. The workshops are led by a different team member each week, and they all have a self-care component and a creative component. All of us in the Cattleya team are connected in some way with art-making either through dance/movement, performance, theatre, and/or drawing and design, and even though most of us are hispanic, our experience and knowledge of Ciudad Juarez is extremely varied. Through a combination of historical account, story-making, social therapy group and creative sculpture-making, Miguel led us through a 3-hour exploration of what life is like for women in Juarez, the significance of projects like The Cattleya Project and what doing this work raises for us emotionally.
After reading and discussing the gruesome headlines from newspapers in Ciudad Juarez this past week (Miguel brought a bunch in with him), the session culminated in a collective creation of a sculpture and a new “first page” of our own newspaper... all created from the papers themselves. We literally embodied the spirit of creating new things with the ‘crap’ of our world.
It is after activities like this that I am reminded that along side the violence, injustice, pain and suffering, there is also hope, creativity, love and compassion. I am reminded that this is why in2improv is committed to create spaces where new relationships can be forged and new activities can be created, because in the words of Dr. Lenora Fulani - a major force and leader in the Performance Activism movement - even though we do not know what we are doing and what lasting change our activity is creating, we are doing something and “something is better than doing nothing."
Sandra Paola LR