Through my body, I live unchained Tuesday 26 July, 2011

Post by LU Team Member Lulu Kitololo As Niambi mentioned last week, I too am very honored and excited to be a part of this community and share my thoughts, inspiration and passion when it comes to art and living unchained. Fittingly, there’s a question that I’ve been asking myself and exploring for years, albeit […]

Share

Post by LU Team Member Lulu Kitololo

As Niambi mentioned last week, I too am very honored and excited to be a part of this community and share my thoughts, inspiration and passion when it comes to art and living unchained.

Fittingly, there’s a question that I’ve been asking myself and exploring
for years, albeit not always in these exact words and sometimes, not even
consciously: How can/does art enable us to live unchained?

Last week I came across a CNN interview with one of my favorite artists, Wangechi Mutu. In a lot of her work, she takes the female body and transforms it into something new that is often at once dazzling and provocative. In the interview, she talks about how she is inviting Kenyans and Africans (essentially, women of African descent) to celebrate and appreciate our bodies, rather than despise them as we have been taught or even forced to do.

"Untitled" by Wangechi Mutu

It made me think of how else art representing bodies is used to challenge
assumed knowledge or even address stigma – in short, to empower. One of
the first examples that came to mind is the Trust for Indigenous Culture
and Health
and their body mapping work – an art project whose explicit intent is healing. Pioneered by an HIV positive women’s group in Uganda, body mapping involves painting large scale silhouettes representing your body, its experiences and how you nurture it. Through creating and sharing these pieces of art, the women chart their powerful emotions on the path to healing.

Indeed, sometimes the most powerful tool we have is the one we often take for granted, mistreat or view as an enemy – our precious body. With it,
we can be incredibly creative, even if we don’t consider ourselves to be artists or creatively-inclined. Engaging with it, listening to it, appreciating it, celebrating it and taking pride in it – regardless of the challenges it may present –  is one way we exercise living unchained.

Our bodies are available to us right here now and so experiencing that
unchained living is simple. Take one of the things that makes me most
happy in this world – dancing. In surrendering my body to the music, it is
freed to move and express itself in a way that is independent from my
thoughts.

Though the moments may be fleeting, it is in these glimpses
where all the things I have been told (or told myself) about my body are
exposed for the irrelevant or even false statements that they are. Through
my movement, I create a new vision for myself. These are powerful times.

How does your body help you to live unchained?

Share

3 Comments

  • Kathryn says:

    My body helps me to live unchained when I run. I’ve felt the experience of transcendence people feel when they dance (I’m sure you felt when you dance as you described), like you’re just along for an exciting ride and your body is on auto-pilot. Great ideas come (are given) to me on my runs and I lose track of time. Energizing my body helps me let go of my mind, and that helps me live unchained.

  • Lulu says:

    Nice! Swimming in the ocean is another one for me. Floating on that boundless pool of water thinking of how every ocean is connected and to every other ocean and river and so on … helps me to appreciate oneness and just how amazing life is. It’s like losing track of time and space! Just presence.

  • Just being with someone. You know, that electricity and feeling of connectedness? It’s a feeling I habitually shield myself from (after all it is so INTENSE). But sometimes, just to remind myself that I can, I allow the energy to flow. And it is just me and the other person sharing the most intimate of experiences.


Trackbacks and Pingbacks

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>