A Small Piece of the More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible

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. 

AIR: Matt Lasensky

“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

https://mattlasensky.myportfolio.com/

AIR: Kirsty Nicoll

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. 

From: Scotland

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.

https://www.kirstynicoll.com/

https://www.instagram.com/kirstynicoll.art/

AIR: Antoine Sugita

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.”

https://www.facebook.com/makimusic.prod

AIR: Poppy Litchfield

Poppy Litchfield is an artist whose work examines the passing of time and its interaction with environment and human experiences. Working across the mediums of print, installation and video she aims to engage audience with interactive and event-based work. She received her BSc in Psychology, Durham University, before working in artist residency spaces. Central to her work is an ethos on communality, considering how space can change and facilitate exchange. Poppy is currently doing a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art.

From: Derby, United Kingdom

Artistic Preference or Outlets: Print, installation, video

Three Words: Connecting; Nurturing; Community

Most Beloved Memory at ArteSumapaz: Countless kitchen moments preparing food together whilst dancing in the kitchen.

https://poppylitchfield.com/

www.instagram.com/poppy_litchfield

AIR: George Crotty

Canadian cellist/composer George Crotty’s inquisitive eclecticism embraces fiddle-derived ornamentation, the agile one-finger gestures of Indian classical music, adapted electric guitar techniques, and the bold articulations of jazz bass. One half of the Loose Roots Duo with West Coast fiddler Gabriel Dubreuil, and leader of his titular world-jazz inflected Trio, the Toronto-based Crotty’s modernist genre-bending is heavily influenced by his hometown’s vibrant pluralism.

From: Toronto, Canada

Artistic preference or outlets: Cello, improvisation, performance, recording

Three Words: open; heart; presence

Most beloved memory at ArteSumapaz: a viaje under the stars

“Rick, Pedro, and the current residents when I visited pre-covid were so warm, generous, encouraging. I cherish the experience, and look forward to visiting again.”

https://www.georgecrotty.com/

www.facebook.com/georgecrottycello

www.instagram.com/georgecrottycello

www.youtube.com/georgecrotty

Healing Trauma through Art

In January 2020, my body was breaking and I had no idea why.

It started with drastic weight loss, grinding my teeth at night, constant headaches, and stomachaches. I wasn’t sleeping at night and was drinking too much. I was irritable, picking fights with my loved ones, and felt the need to isolate myself. My only hobby was watching Netflix. When I went to my doctor with my list of concerns, I burst into tears because I couldn’t understand why everything felt so messed up inside. She diagnosed me with depression and listed the recommended treatment options.

Even then I knew; her diagnosis was only a piece of the picture. 

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ArteSumapaz and the Future

I Recently stumbled upon a brief anonymous writing entitled ¨The new human being¨. The title struck me and I read its content.

Generally speaking, it said that the human being of the future will find meaning by aligning himself with nature. They will recognize that they are a part of it, and will navigate in rhythm with its cycles, discovering its secrets and becoming one with earth, water, air and fire. They will honor the sacredness in the mystery of life; and will live out of love because they will understand that they are one with everything there is.

These words of course resonated with me. Even if some do not want to admit it, we are facing great change, the beginning of new times; times for awakened spirits. As expressed by depth psychologist and wilderness-based soul guide, Bill Plotkin in his book Nature and The Human Soul :

¨…we now behold the possibility of a radical and foundational shift in human culture – from a suicidal, life destroying element to a way of life worth of our unique human potential and of Earth´s dream for itself. What lies before us is the opportunity and imperative for a thorough cultural transformation – what ecophilosofer Joanna Macy calls the Great Turning, the transformation from an egocentric ´Industrial Growth Society´ to a soulcentric ´Life-sustaining Society´…¨

-Bill Plotkin

This transformation can be seen most everywhere and with increasing force. There is an important sector of the population that is working for it; writers, philosophers, economists, scientists, film makers, artists, architects and poets who are focusing their efforts towards building a better life for humans and all other living species.

 As time progresses, we are more numerous at promoting this movement toward the encounter with our deeper selves and with the natural world. And when one person becomes awake, their entire surrounding becomes affected and thus, one by one, the process takes place. It may seem slow, but what is most important, is to believe and participate. Each one of us is an instigator of change.

Never before in history have there been so many people and organizations working for a better world, from foundations, schools, intentional communities etc. And our commitment in the ArteSumapaz Foundation goes along these lines.

ArteSumapaz is a space for personal and environmental transformation through its different chapters. The central vision is artistic creation within nature, art inspired by the natural world. Nature, its rhythms, its forms and its wisdom inform creation and art, thought Paul Klee. Klee made Nature the “foundation of his artistic endeavor”. We believe that art has the potential to be a healing force. Likewise, creation and artistic expression are a fundamental part of human nature. And sharing in a community of artists is an important factor for the creative everyday life at ArteSumapaz.

We recognize our wild and poetic human aspects through dance, song and music, ritual, improvisation and al artistic creation as the basis of our mission. Art has the power to transmute and heal wounds and traumas; and it is capable of impacting both the individual and society.

ArteSumapaz is located in a hundred-year-old coffee farm (Hacienda Australia) with an area of ​​116 hectares where we will undertake a project to restore the native forest. Relying on the remnants of primary forest that have survived intact. We will restore areas that were converted to agriculture and livestock, returning them to their natural state. We envision a sculpture park woven inside the forest though ecological trails; a sanctuary for nature and art that will of course be open to the public.

Part of the big picture of this project includes the creation of a small intentional community that will inhabit the land. The members of this community will be the guardians of the forest and the territory, living in rhythm with nature and respect for all life.

Through each of the different chapters of ArteSumapaz we expect to have a healing impact on the local community and the land, in a geography that has historically been hit by violence. We also hope to be a positive influence nationally as a center for arts and culture.

We all contribute our grain of sand. And every contribution is important. And it is the sum of these efforts that will make the difference. When the critical mass surpasses its point of alchemy, the change will be unstoppable and will precipitate under its own weight.

ArteSumapaz

Artesumapaz 26/08/21
(Last night)

The fireflies were out to say goodbye
I’ll always carry them with me
Or at least their memory

I’ve no need for one final look
Because I appreciated everyday with you
My eyes rolled around the mountains
Perched on top of the volcanoes
Everyday I said goodbye
With a melancholic affection
When I closed them to sleep

I dream of hypnotic movement
My feet along sacred mountain paths
The forest clearing high up and a kiss in the rain
Or tongues lolling in the mouths of happy dogs
These are the things I’ll carry with me

The sounds of this place
I love the sound of this place
It feels alive, air that vibrates
Lovely, lively calls, birds bugs beasts
It all falls into place so well, perfectly

So I’ll say good bye with a smile
And see you further down the road

by Harry R. Masson

Return to Home: Three US-Colombian Artists

Since the 1950s, millions of Colombians fled the country primarily motivated by the violence and economic upheaval, in what’s been called the Colombian Diaspora. Today, the US hosts over 650,000 Colombians, along with over 300,000 second generation US-Colombians. Many Colombian-US artists have been making the trek back to Colombia to reconnect with the land of their parents and grandparents. We recently had the opportunity to interview three of those artists who spent time in residence at ArteSumapaz; Nicole Combeau, Camilo Cardenas, and Isabel Balcazár.

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