This was the longest workshop to date: 12:30-5:30. It produced a slower pace that was less intense, and therefore we could spend more time editing the poetry. This year, Bodyscapes is moving toward a spoken word poetry engagement which means that every artist is going to read her poems out loud to the audience at the opening reception. We worked on our poems with a focus on finding the refrain – the core essence of the poem. I am excited about this added aspect of Bodyscapes.
During the time of reflection following the drawing activity, Dee contemplates the poem she wrote to accompany her drawing.
The women involved all told me that they were glad they were part of this, would try to return, and would recommend it to friends! They all wished me well, and they look forward to us gathering again for the opening night reception on September 15, 6-9, at WCRC. And you are all invited!
Breast cancer treatment not only removes a body part but can also take away self confidence, feminine identity and faith in life. Last Saturday, July 8th, women from WCRC’s community came together at my free Bodyscapes Healing Art Workshop. Complicated emotions—fear, despair, anger, and bewilderment—were transformed into positive healing energy through poetry and drawing. The Bodyscapes Technique helped us to connect with our inner and outer realities, our bodies, minds and spirits. These Bodyscapes drawings are powerful tools to show how women deal with the important issues of lives lived with illness, wellness, fear and hope.
The Red & Orange House is back at WCRC. Thrilled to collaborate with this great organization which serves so many women living with cancer. They serve from a kind, loving, and non judgment space–with lots of art experiences to aid healing. This year, I have reached out to the Latinx community and the African-American communities to join me to learn how to express their rich stories through poetry and pastel drawing.
Free workshops will be conducted Saturday, July 29th. Art exhibition opening–September 15th 2017.
No experience necessary. Register online at http://www.wcrc.org
Lori, Toby Symington from The Lloyd Symington Foundation, Carolyn and Diane
I am embarking on a workshop unlike any other I have ever done, using the funding many generous people contributed to Generosity.com. Previously I’ve worked with female cancer patients and teens receiving dialysis. Now I am working with a very different community: people who are living with HIV/AIDS. Many are men who never expected to live this long, after being diagnosed in the 1980’s, as all around them they saw friends die.
Most are men (some women) who were diagnosed in the 1980‘s who never expected to live this long. Now in their sixties, they come together to celebrate still being alive and meeting others who share their history and reference points. Their personal journeys, being positive (Poz), have made them very aware of how it feels to live with suffering in body and spirit. They engaged in the Bodyscapes process eagerly, so willing to use it as tool to explore where their bodies have been- housing the virus for so long- and where their bodies are going- now that the virus and aging are colliding.
On March 6th, I conducted Bodyscapes workshop #1-which was the writing activity for Honoring Our Experience (HOE) group. We began working on poems describing their illness and state of mind.
The poems revealed a lot about living with the No. 1 epidemic of modern time. What these men and women have to say is profound: many have lived with a death sentence hanging over their heads for decades. Living positive (Poz) has given these patients, now turned artists, deep insight about their illness, their bodies and their approaches to healing. Their reflections, told through some of the poems, reveal a social history about a time that is remembered by those of us old enough; however, the young gay community does not remember this era, and never lived through the AIDS years. They have come of age in a time when the diagnosis is no longer fatal and medications can keep you looking young and healthy for a long time.
But, I am of the age where I remember the AIDS crisis hitting– it was absolutely terrifying. It seemed like it was all the artists who were dying. All the voices who kept our crazy world in check and balance.
My workshops with Honoring Our Experience (HOE) long term survivors of AIDS have been beyond satisfying. I am not constrained in the confines of working within the professional protocol of a hospital environment. At Project Open hand I am with people in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, talking candidly about their suffering — not only their illness, but their sexuality and watching their dear friends die, plus their concerns about potential homelessness. I can talk and cry with them as well as rhapsodize about the sensation of the smoothness of our French pastels smearing across each piece of Italian artisan paper.
Gregg’s group receives my genuine, fully open passion, born out of my gratitude to be healthy and conduct BodyScapes workshops.
On March 20th, I ate another delicious Meals Heals! lunch followed by a nutrition lecture about probiotics. We watched a demonstration of how to make sauerkraut. At 2 PM, we cleared the tables and started to engage in Bodyscapes workshop #2- which was a drawing activity. We focused on creating contour line drawings of the part of their bodies most affected by living with HIV and/or its subsequent other medical complications.
Jesus Guillen, featured in the film, Last Men Standing, reflected on the process of creating his drawing:
“ Bodyscapes is motivational drawing because it is not only the you that you are, but the you that you can be and who you were–so it is all life put into that drawing that is telling you somehow all the different parts of yourself.”
I am now working with a photographer and catalog designer, Zanne DeJanvier, to rev up for the exhibit likely to be in January 2018 at PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) Gallery in the Mission. Stay tuned for details.