Art and Healing Panel

Cultural Expression in the Wake of Catastrophic Violence: a panel at Brown University, November 20, 2012

Granoff Creative Arts Center, 2-4pm

Dennis Raveneau in "Diamond Dick." Photo: Jeffrey SchmidtDennis Raveneau in "Diamond Dick." Photo: Jeffrey Schmidt Please join us for a panel discussion focusing on the uses of performance and visual art in address to healing from trauma, in cases of genocide and war. These panels coincide with Soulographie: Our Genocides, a 17 play-cycle by TAPS Professor, Erik Ehn, developed in part by Brown and performed at La MaMa in New York.

 The panel is an indispensable aspect of the Soulographie plan. The plays in the series are expressionistic, but point to real history (particular genocides). Performance is a springboard for deeper study, and to promote conversations, such as this, to reflect on responsive action, and to deepen an awareness of the elements of genocidal ideology at work in policies we may not scrutinize on a daily basis.

Panelists have extensive experience in connection with art and healing from war and trauma. They are from Northern Ireland (Pauline Ross), Serbia (Dijana Milosevic), Argentina (Claudia Bernardi) and Uganda (George Ongom). The event is sponsored by TAPS and the CAC, and is hosted by the Writing for Performance Program at Brown University, which stresses in its pedagogy the social causes and impacts of performance (over and above writing to produce autonomous art-objects). For more information, please contact Nancy_Safian@brown.edu or call  401-863-6951.

Panelists:

Claudia Bernardi, Argentina

Claudia Bernardi is an artist educator from Argentina who works on community-based art projects in countries affected by wars, violence and state terror. The participants of these collaborative and communal projects are civilians who suffered violations of human rights (massacres, torture and sexual violence) during armed conflicts. In 2005 she helped create The School of Art and Open Studio of Perquin/Walls of Hope as an international art and human rights project of art, education, conflict resolution, crime prevention, diplomacy building, community development and preservation of historic memory. Ms. Bernardi describes her first impression of Perquin in 2005. "It was hugely impacted by the war. The majority of existing houses were uninhabitable. Walls of Hope is in response to the question: How could bringing art into the life of a community contribute to the healing and social stability of that community?”

Dijana Milošević, Serbia

Dijana Milošević is a founder and director of DAH Theatre, a Belgrade-based theatre company that emerged amidst the violence and turmoil of the 1991 Yugoslavia Civil War. DAH Theatre presented anti-war performances outdoors in the center of Belgrade at a time when it was forbidden to even mention the war. Since then, they have created street performances and theatrical plays protesting militarism, nationalism, and gender inequality of Serbian society. The themes through which DAH Theatre expresses its poetics are always connected to the position of an individual in dark times and history.

    "The forming of DAH Theatre and its cry of creation coincided with the fall of ex-Yugoslavia and the general destruction that followed. Theatre directors Jadranka Andjelic and Dijana Milosevic, together with the actress Maja Mitic, decided, perhaps subconsciously, to oppose the destruction with creation, to create, in the midst of a world falling apart, a microcosmos of theatre." From Dubravka Knezević  ("Till the Last Breath", SCENA no. 5/6, Sept/Dec 1995.)

George Ongom, Northern Uganda

In Northern Uganda, once the site of Joseph Kony’s infamous Lord’s Resistance Army,  resides, A River Blue, a community-run program and refugee center, established in 2006 for the area’s youth who were tortured, raped, and coerced to fight under the LRA. After 20 years of war and destruction, River Blue's project coordinator, Okweny George Ongom, decided to organize an arts festival with music, dance and theatre along with stories that addressed current issues and recent history of the destruction the refugees experienced. The festival proved to be a cathartic experience, reminiscent of festivals before the war.

Pauline Ross, Northern Ireland

Pauline Ross established the  Playhouse Theatre, Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1992 close to the start of Ireland’s concerted effort at a peace process between the IRA and the British government.  Since then the Playhouse has grown to become one of Ireland's leading multi-disciplinary community arts centers. It is based on a neutral site in the city center. The Playhouse fills a gap in the provision of the arts in the North West. It  is also one of only a handful of venues commissioning, producing and touring theatre in the island of Ireland.