Last month I did a studio visit and a trip to LACMA to see the Pierre Huyghe show with Proximity Theater's Women's Workshop. You can read and see more about what they are up to on their tumblr. They made this short video about their studio visit. I watched it this morning and was moved to tears. It was a complete honor to have this group of truly amazing young women in my studio. We talked about art, intuition, and dance. I shared some of my journey as a female artist, as a daughter, as a woman. I was blown away by their thoughtfulness and willingness to trust themselves and their inner voice. Each of them at such a beautiful crossroad, at the beginning of asking themselves the questions I still ask myself now. Brave. Beautiful. Wise. Eloquent. Vulnerable. Strong. Funny. I was completely inspired by each of them and their trust in me.
It was such a gift to be able to have such an open and honest conversation with them about my experience as a woman, what that means to me, about being inspired by my mother's death and minerals and formal questions in art, about intuition, and about what I think my roll is as an artist. About how much you can learn about yourself from your own feelings, moments when you are uncomfortable. Questions about what attracts us to certain works of art, does that make it good? How does beauty play a roll in what our idea of "good art" is? Etc.. etc... They were all incredibly open and honest about asking questions and sharing their ideas and opinions. I was blown away!
It reminds me of another conversation I had recently with a friend of a friend, talking to her about how she is having her first conversations with her child about death. I will say here what I shared with her that night. It's so much a part of the reason why I chose to work with grieving kids (kids in particular), and why I love working with kids in any capacity. I think we have a responsibility and an opportunity to help kids and young adults learn to be empowered by their feelings, even the most difficult ones. I have so much to say about this, and will save it for another time. But, I will say that I think that by doing that it is the ultimate gift we can give younger generations, and our children. I believe that we teach them this by being willing to feel all of our feelings ourselves. We teach by example. To allow ourselves the permission to express every feeling and give ourselves the right to own them. All with an open and honest heart. By doing this we show them that it is ok to be sad, angry, to have darkness as well as joy, to be in the questions of life and be able to say "I don't know", to be willing to be vulnerable, and afraid, and embrace all of it with a deep thirst to experience all of what life has to offer. And to do all this takes courage, feeling your feelings and being vulnerable doesn't make you weak, it makes you stronger.
Going into this studio visit I wanted to give them something of this message, but instead what happened was that they ended up giving ME so much more than what I could give them. That's what happens. Every time. I experience this in every one of my grief groups with kids too. If I just show up - open - as myself - and create a place for them to express I am always in awe by what happens and how much I learn.
You can read more about what they are doing and watch the video of the studio visit here.
100 thank you's to Kyra, I am so inspired by the work you are doing with teens, and to all the girls!