We have a wonderful interview in the works that is still in the editing phase. But meanwhile, Check out some great work that Alexandra Jo did while in residence at ArteSumapaz.
Chiara is a writer training as a Biodanza facilitator. She is an intrepid explorer of the inner and outer worlds, loves to celebrate human light and shadow through ritual and dance. She is a theatre lover, who graduated in cultural Diplomacy and worked at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York and at ArteSumapaz – a cultural hacienda in the Colombian countryside, helping create cultural hubs and promoting Arts. Chiara has spent the past decade working front-of-house at the Gate Theatre, Sadler’s Wells and Orange Tree Theatre; as well as Press Rep to actress Lucy Roslyn in The State Versus John Hayes at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She is currently working as Theatre Manager for Gate Theatre and Theatro Technis @ 26 Crowndale, and as part of the Young Vic Welcome Team.
Artistic Preference or Outlets: Writer, Playwright, Dancer
Most Beloved Memory at ArteSumapaz:
“I became a vegan chef for the community for almost two weeks. Playing with foods and creating meals for the hacienda inhabitants gave me purpose and awakened my mothering side, my nature_rooted powers and allowed my creative juices to flow and merge with the fruits of the earth.”
“It was incredible to spend time with a community of artists hidden in the heart of nature, it felt like being born again within the giant legs of the mountains, held within green breasts and dreamy clouds.”
Three Words: nurturing, raw, harbor
I’ve resided at the residency at ArteSumapaz for over three and a half years, and in the process, discovered that while I crave community, I need my own space. I’m not quite ready to construct my own house, so embarked on building a small house, or cabin, that afterwards can be another space in the residency. And while I had my share of experience with construction back in upstate New York, the Colombian approach to construction is quite different. Thus, in short, I’ve learned a lot, and would like to share some of those experiences in this post.Continue reading
We have three dogs and two cats at ArteSumapaz. In reality, we don’t think of them so much as “our” pets, as we are their humans. The dogs, who are all rescues, have an incredible amount of liberty, and will happily follow you to town.
Ray Chimba was the first of our dogs. He trotted up the driveway one day, skinny as could be, and terribly skittish. Since then, he’s gained some weight, and has been the muse of many a drawing and song. The phrase “Re Chimba” is a colombian colloquialisms for “really cool,” but also not considered polite in some circles.Continue reading
ArteSumapaz as a community acknowledges that gender and sex are not binary, and not everyone identifies as a man or woman / male or female. Neither are we en titled to know anyone’s gender nor sex nor sexuality and we must not assume! Assuming that being cisgender and heterosexual is the norm is very harmful and contributes to homophobia and transphobia which very commonly turn in to violent hate crimes and deprivation of basic rights.
Some helpful and important vocabulary:
Transgender: relating to a person who’s gender identity does not correspond with their assigned sex at birth.
Cisgender: relating to a person who’s gender identity does correspond with their assigned sex at birth.
Non-binary: an umbrella term for gender identities outside the gender binary (there are several)
Ways to show up as an ally
- Practice using various pronouns.
- Don’t apologize if you mess up, just correct yourself.
- Correct other people if they misgender someone.
- Don’t assume anyone’s gender nor sexuality. Use they/them pronouns and gender neutral language until they / someone close to them tells you their pronouns.
- Normalize introducing yourself with your pronouns and adding them to your social media bios etc., this creates a safe space for gender variant people to do so.
- Educate yourselves and those around you, have difficult conversations. It is not the job of LGBTQIA+ people to educate you.
- Don’t impose cis and heteronormativity on anyone, especially on kids. They are never too young to learn about various gender and sexual identities.
- Listen to and amplify LGBTQIA+ voices, especially BIPOC and disabled ones.
- Use inclusive language, don’t forget that trans men and non-binary people menstruate and give birth too.
- Acknowledge your privilege – it is a privilege to connect with the gender assigned to us at birth, it is a privilege to not be misgendered.
- Make sure your feminism is intersectional, the patriarchy does not only affect cis women.
GENDER NEUTRAL VOCABULARY
- Loved ones
- Theydies and gentlethems
- People / Person
- Guape / Guapi
- Mx. (pre x)
- Amigue / Amigui Veci
- Chique / Chiqui Latine
- Seño / Señore Marica
GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUNS:
They / them / ze / zir / xe / hir / ae AND MANY MORE (English) Elle (Spanish)
May we work to create a safe and nurturing environment for all, free of any form of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or any kind of discrimination. We are not perfect and there will always be new things for us to learn and unlearn due to years of societal conditioning. May we stay open-minded and help each other grow and be aware and concious of all identities and expressions. May we collectively dismantle all oppressive systems, and make space for all marginalized communities and folks!
I’m reading Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore from the extensive Arte Sumapaz library, enjoying the ideas about working with the soul’s shadows; to ask how our shadows might help, to acknowledge longing, desire, anger, melancholy or numerous aspects of ourselves, in favor of becoming intimate with this facet of our personal diamond. What does our soul want from us and how can we fully express its longing as much as possible in this incarnation?
Deciding to explore my true nature has meant dropping most other things I used to know and value – productivity, money, reputation, work, home – to explore a sense of creative freedom. I was a good-enough citizen for so long, holding a house, relationships, work and life together. Then, undoing and dismantling, seeing a picture of what I’d been unconsciously driven by, healing the unconscious and erotic, leaving corporate life to become a sex coach. While that jigsaw may never be complete, it’s good enough for now.
I lived abroad in my twenties as a teacher and always had a sense I’d do that again in my fifties. Now I’m beginning a future jigsaw, carrying a piece – me – in my hand, wondering who, what or where the four pieces are around me, what frame and picture I might be a part of. It’s daunting and full of potential, leaving the UK in a pandemic to live in other parts of this beautiful world.
Working with my renaissance-soul creative personality instead of attempting to deny or transcend it, is helpful. Giving in to myself, no longer berating myself for being a dilettante, accepting that multiplicity is enhanced by depth. Dealing with three or four projects is fun, having something of a broad remit for myself here, at peace that only some of the daily fifty ideas before breakfast might be fulfilled in this lifetime. If this sounds like you too you could be at home here amongst the other renaissance souls, polymaths and creative visionaries.
I can get so in my head with ideas and forget to notice that existence is miraculous. While pondering what to write today in this safe Andes bubble, I hear birdsong from little red or yellow flitting feathers, there’s a hawk above circling the territory, countless butterflies and black and yellow long-bodied wasps in a valley of misty restful green. The internet went down in a storm, so it’s a time to enjoy digging the garden, wellies and shorts on, talking immersive theatre, gender identity and philosophy with the volunteers and artists. It’s good to begin to meet new people again – thoughtful, healing, questioning – I’m in awe of the distance they’ve come, the humility in recognising all was not well, commiting to the journey to wholeness, contributing to being the change.
Reading Joanna Macy, World as Lover, World as Self, I like her insight into three ways we can make a contribution to a greater reset: Shift in Consciousness – self awareness in a personal spiritual revolution, Holding Actions – stopping future destruction with activism and Structural Change – building new models. Being at ArteSumapaz where we are building new models of possibility in living, in art, in community, I feel less helpless and furious. This place holds a high vision, there’s cause for optimism. Awareness and pleasure activism is probably where my re-emerging joyful, practical nature contributes best, I may never get to the barricades. Being at ArteSumapaz, where we have open art crits, share ideas, offer mini-workshops, we see and support each other’s creativity. Sharing my writing from my yet-to-be-published book with the group is a gift of considered feedback. It’s creative refuge in a Colombian paradise. I’ve been happy every day here. Realising it’s been a while since I’ve felt that, I’m in deep appreciation of the space ArteSumapaz holds, to give us glimpses of what might be possible in a new model for future living.
“I studied engineering and was in a rough place during my studies. I’ve always loved drawing and decided to take an art class and it changed my life. Art has been my greatest hobby since and continues to be an outlet for me. I’ve mostly worked in factories and manufacturing settings and I’ve always loved machinery. I find old, rusty industrial equipment aesthetically beautiful in a wabi-sabi kinda way. Conversely, being in nature is my other great passion, which is what drew me to ArteSumapaz.”
From: Pennsylvania, USA
Artistic Preference or Outlets: Mixed media
Three Words: Cleansing; Peaceful; Stimulating
Most Beloved Memory at ArteSumapaz: A percussive jam session on the patio under incredible stars. Great music, people, conversations, and overall time well spent
Kirsty Nicoll is a Scottish artist based in Leiden, The Netherlands. She graduated from Leith School of Art in July 2021. Prior to this, she received an MA in Art History from Glasgow University in 2017. Since leaving university in 2017, her main focus has been travelling, working at a seasonal job in London between trips. In 2019, a month-long residency at ArteSumapaz reignited her love for art and led her to apply to art school. She has a background in textiles, designing and selling fabric at her family’s linen mill in Fife.
Artistic Preference or Outlets: Painting, analogue photography, silk screen printing
Three Words: Enlightening; Nourishing; Grounding
Most Beloved Memory at ArteSumapaz: Watching the sunsets over the gorgeous mountain view together every night.
Born in northern France into a musical family, Antoine Sugita began studies in piano at the age of four. Winner of a competition in contemporary music interpretation at ten, he completed his studies at the Conservatoire de Lille with Alain Raes. Antoine’s passion for improvisation became clear with time, and his music has been chosen for several short films. Filled with a warm and peaceful atmosphere, Antoine is now focusing on both music production and composition. A new album will be launched beginning of 2022 with the purpose of showing many facets of his music.
From: Lille, France
Artistic Preference or Outlets: Music
Three Words: Trust; Simplicity; Balance
Most Beloved Memory at ArteSumapaz: The simplicity of Ric and I sharing both Christmas and New Year’s Eve by ourselves, with good food, beers and a chess board
“As a ‘new artist’, I was in this new phase of sharing my music, the open/true heart and speech of Ric, really accompanied me in this journey of launching my first album of improvisations. As a symbolic act, I put Ric’s favorite improvisation (of mine) in the album, called Grateful. Ric also made the cover of my album! This experience could not have been better.”