Expressive arts encapsulates different disciplines of art including performance art. It can also be used as a tool for encouraging resiliency and molding the society. I have discovered this in an eye-opening experience last September 12, 2014, during the Talk on Expressive Arts and Psychology. It was conducted by Dr. Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete, Chair and Associate Professor at UP Department of Speech Communication & Theatre Arts and Company Manager of Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas. Together with the Sipat Lawin Ensemble, a contemporary performance group exploring and creating new approaches and new works for the theater.
DRA. AMIHAN BONIFACIO-RAMOLETE: Promoting Resiliency Through Puppetry
Dra. Ami eagerly shared her expertise in puppetry and how she used it in promoting resiliency. She gave a short lecture about puppetry. According to her, puppetry is manipulating inanimate objects in front of an audience. It can show aspects of our history and everyday lives through mimesis, projection of thought and reflection of life. It stimulates creativity and appeals to everyone, young and old.
She connected how puppetry promotes resiliency as she cited her experience during her visit in Tacloban. She has observed that puppetry enhanced communication skills, developed problem solving skills, fostered creativity, increased social awareness and promoted positive self concept. Through this, puppetry has helped the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in becoming more resilient in coping up with the trauma of the calamity.
Visit Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas to know more about their advocacy.
SIPAT LAWIN ENSEMBLE: Performance Art as Agent of Social Change
Sipat Lawin Ensemble started with a short but very profound verse:
“Imbue thy self with the power of imagination…
Have courage for the truth …
Sharpen thy feeling..
For responsibility of soul”
They asked a thought provoking question to the audience. How can art and culture contribute to the betterment of the nation? They also ask themselves the same question every time they would conceptualize a performance. They believe that art should not only be a mirror of society but a hammer to shape it. They imparted their humble beginnings and their experiences during their highly interactive shows.
They have shared their experience of a performance in a public market and observed how audience would interact, like a social experiment in an act. They have also done a show in a baranggay wherein they used the establishments within community as their stage.
They showed us an example of a performance wherein the audience decide on the fate of the character. Also, they gave us an experience of their show entitled “Love: This is Not Yet a Musical”, where the audience are highly involved.
It was such a noble pursuit for them to use their craft as an agent of social change but they also struggle to push through with their performances because of the lack of resources. They also get lots of criticisms from some of their audience because of their contemporary style of performance and concepts. Despite all these, they continue to pursue their passion and stand by what they believe. If you’re interested to join their workshops. Visit Sipat Lawin’s Theater in a Backpack.
I’d like to thank my friend, Karla Sabijon of UP Psychological Council for giving me a chance to join this encouraging talk.
Truly, art as a way of expression is very powerful tool in different aspects. It can help an individual to be encouraged as well as to open the nation’s eye and trigger change.
Would you want to experience the power of art in your life too? Come and join our Expressive Art Meditation Workshop.