Between the dates of 11/12/2022 and 15/12/2022 we found ourselves in Bihac, a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina known for the natural beauties that surround it, as well as for the abundance of cultural and historical monuments that tell the history of this city. We participated in a youth exchange called “ARTIVISM: Raise Your Youth Voice” along with 20- something people from Bosnia, Portugal and last but not least, Serbia. Our aim was to find our voices and express ourselves using various methods of art, to share ideas, values and life experiences with one another and finally create art pieces using our body and movement.
And we did, in 4 short days, we expressed, bonded created. You have to experience it to believe it, how close we felt together in such a short amount of time, it’s like we trauma-bonded but the complete opposite, came-together-through-an-amazing-experience..? Anyway, our trainers led us through the activities and they were great, in the first day of activities we went through the classic Erasmus+ pattern of name games, icebreakers and team building games and then the real fun started. During the morning session, we worked on our body, our senses, movement and connection with our surroundings with Chiara, we danced, lumped around, walked like robots at different speeds and ‘gravities’, we meditated and stayed in place, worked solo, in pairs and in groups, through all of it there was a distinct sense of calmness, of.. Zen as well as exhilaration, oh to be there again, away from the stress of our reality and feeling tethered, connected with each other.
Anyway, during the evenings, we had no chill I swear, Pooja (our other trainer) did soul work, intentionally or not, a lot of trauma was unearthed and I like to think a healing process was kick-started. Through forum theater, frozen images and deep questions, we addressed social justice issues and personal demons, sometimes it got uncomfortably heavy and sometimes it was kept light, with a gentle manner, our trainers guided us and kept us emotionally and physically safe. On our last day of participating, each participant, alone or in a group, created an art piece with either dance or art supplies or/and Polaroid photographs (which we were encouraged to take during the entire project with the Polaroid machines we were provided).It was stunning.
What is the “aftertaste” of the project? What impression remains when our initial awe has faded? A warm, sweet feeling, a sense of freedom and the ghost of encouragement we got during that project. Now we’d love to give you a play by play of those some-would-call-them ‘life changing’ days but we’d rather inspire you to go and have your own.
This project was co-funded by European Union, the Erasmus+ Program