viernes, 30 de septiembre de 2011

Living with Uncertainty: IEATA IX Biennial Conference

 Living with Uncertainty: IEATA IX Biennial Conference
The Tamalpa Participation

August 10-14, 2011 Lima, Peru
By Lorena Wolfman

The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA), gave its IX bienniel conference in Lima, Peru August 10-14, 2011.  The guiding theme and title of the conference was “Living with Uncertainty: Multiplicity as a Pathway through Expressive Arts."  There were 280 participants from more than 20 countries from the continents of The Americas (North, South and Central), Europe, Oceania, and Asia.

For those not familiar with expressive arts therapy as a field and a practice, expressive arts (which include movement/dance, visual art, poetry, drama, etc) is a field with its own theoretical framework and methodologies which allow people to “enter a creative space where they can express, through different artistic modalites, their inner world, their potentials, strengthening their ability to imagine and transform their challenges.1”

The bienniel conference was hosted by TAE Peru (Terapia de Artes Expresivas), based in Lima Perú, founded by graduates of the European Graduate School (EGS).  TAE also runs  trainings and a master’s program associated with the EGS.  The workshops were offered in English and/or Spanish.

The opening ceremony included a ritual and blessing using indigenous wind instruments which was followed by speeches by executive chairs of the IEATA Board.  Panel discussions were presided over by luminaries of the field, Steven K. Levine and Ellen Levine, and by Sabine Silberberg, Gonzalo Portocarrero and  Tarcila Rivera of CHIRAPAQ, an indigenous rights organization. 

 The stated purpose and intention for the conference:

“We live in a time in which social and environmental destruction threatens us all. There are no clear answers to the problems of the world, but the arts offer possibilities and perspectives that can help us find new pathways towards healthful solutions. Multiplicity of arts, ancient traditions and contemporary ways of living, from a myriad of cultures, can invite us to find new possibilities of healing.2”

In this context, the work of Anna Halprin and the Tamalpa Institute was presented by two workshop leaders, Claudia Cuentas and Rosario Sammartino who respectivley presented the Planetary Dance Earth Run: Dance of Ayni, and a classic Tamalpa Experience workshop and two showings of Breath Made Visible, a movie based on Anna Halprin’s life and work.  The Earth Run, as presented by Claudia Cuentas, was masterfully translated to the context of Perú.  “Ayni” is a word in the indigenous Quechua language referring to reciprocity and mutual well-being.  We all ran under Lima’s night sky with Sikouris, traditional Andean muscians, in the center, with the meta-intention of protecting the native seeds and therefore independent food sources and a personal intention of meaning in relation to another person in our lives.

Additionally, two more Tamalpa graduates presented workshops, Vivian Chavez with Teaching Health Through the Body, Applying THE Tamalpa Life/Art Process to the Field of Health, and myself, Lorena Wolfman.  I co-presented a workshop with Nicki Koethner, Executive Co-Chair of IEATA. The title of the workshop was Earth Consciousness: Cultivating Inner Guidance Through Ancestral Wisdom.
The workshop score of Earth Consciousness was guided by a vision of our integral place within the web of life and our relation to all of creation, not only in the present, but from a fluid perspective of time in which we could receive the gifts of our ancestors.  It consisted of a ritual opening invoking the four directions, an element meditation, two Tamalpa-style movement based scores (a score is a meaningful set of activities developed around a particular intention) “animal dance” and “walk with the ancestors,” ending with community altar-building and a closing sharing circle. Aside from the movement and guided visualization of the principal scores, the modalities of drawing and writing including time for sharing with a partner were built in.  We used Rumi’s poem “The Guesthouse” to set the aesthetic and liminal field for “walk with the ancestors” (This being human is a guest house/ Every morning a new arrival…/Be grateful for whatever comes/ because each has been sent as a guide from beyond...).  We invited participants to open themselves to the wisdom their ancestors had to share with them and invited them to release unfinished business.  Each received a gift and gave a gift to the ancestor who had come to visit.  We also asked that they contemplate themselves as ancestors, and the gift they would like to leave for future generations.  Our workshop was received with great enthusiasm and participants later shared deeply moving experiences of the messages and wisdom their ancestors offered them.  As a result of the warm and meaningful reception, indicative of how relevant and healing this line of exploration had been, we have decided to offer it again in a variety of contexts. 

The 2011 IEATA biennial conference was deeply affirming, informative and moving and even life-changing for many of us.  Important connections, sharings and understandings arose out of this conference as we reached out to each other and our host country making bridges across the multiplicity we represented through our diverse backgrounds, country of origin and life experience.   It was an intimate conference and together and individually, we planted many seeds that I am sure will grow into a beautiful garden. I know that I speak for more than just myself in saying that I excitedly await the next conference slated for San Francisco in 2013, and envision continuing to build on the intelligence and soulful group work what we have shared this year.

 1 From the TAE web site
2 From the TAE web site