20 February 2021: Enacting a Just and Regenerative Future – Reflections on TOFTA'S Artelier
Written by Annia Visconti-Costermani, MA student at Graduate Institute of Geneva, Humanity Team member of Home for Humanity and former Team Member at SINAL
It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon. I slowly prepared myself, mentally gathering symbolic items for another wonderful online event prepared by and for the Home for Humanity (H4H) community, and sat myself in front of my computer with a view on our garden. Concretely speaking, I was getting ready for the deeply immersive experience of the Theatre of Transformation Academy’s 4th Anniversary Artelier on World Social Justice Day 20 Feb 2021. The workshop brought together a highly diverse group from all continents, ages and backgrounds around the shared theme of enacting personal and global transformation to co-create a just and regenerative earth civilization. We were about 20 participants, joining the zoom session from as far afield as Bhutan to South Africa and Tunisia to Peru. I felt right at home as I recognized some familiar faces in the little zoom boxes belonging to friends made at H4H as well as two participants joining us from Brazil, a region close to my heart, as I have spent the last four years of my life in the Mata Atlantica forest near Rio de Janeiro, working with Sinal do Vale (SINAL), a key partner organization of Home for Humanity.
As we began, I was struck by a sense of both enthusiasm and déjà vu. I got transported back to the Tenda da Vitalidade in SINAL in May 2018, when I had previously participated in a Theatre of Transformation workshop Rama gave during our RegenerARTE festival. This workshop was one of the highlights of the festival for me as it allowed me to unwind from the stressful tasks of organizing the festival and encouraged me to slow down and reconnect with myself, the nature surrounding us, my fellow participants, SINAL team members and Home for Humanity itself, the lovely people and organization that encouraged me to follow my call for transformation. The workshop felt like closing a life cycle, and I could sense thanks to it how far I have walked along the path of transformation since I first stepped into H4H.
Back in 2021, the Art-elier took us on a journey around the world and deep into ourselves. It was structured around four enacted real-life testimonies, one from each continent, which exemplified the four-stage methodology of Theatre of Transformation. I was so deeply touched that the first story Rama enacted was that of ‘Dona Alba’ the mother of SINAL’s founder, Thais Corral, transporting me back to my time in SINAL. The stories were accompanied by short powerful exercises we did: alone, in pairs, in groups of four and finally all together. I personally enjoyed the exercise where we were encouraged to ask and give advice to each other by enacting an element of nature. The exercise encouraged us to blur the lines between oneself and the Other and listen and empathize deeply, until finally realizing that we are all part of a united great whole. Through each step, each of us was invited to realize our innate capacity to ‘come home to our true humanity’, ‘witness reality’, ‘awaken possibility’, ‘envision change’ and ‘enact transformation’ in our own lives and in our shared world.
In the closing circle, each participating co-creator enacted with a symbolic gesture and a few potent sentences what they took away from the workshop into their daily lives. Again I was dazzled by the impact and the connections built through our short shared journey of transformation, and the creative capacity of each of us to express so much with so few words and gestures, and how, by mirroring each other’s gestures, we could experience our ‘humanity in unity’.
I left the art-elier with a deep sense of peace and interconnection with my community, nature and the world as a whole.
– Annia Visconti-Costermani