In order to embed Body Mapping into the ongoing community life of people living with HIV/Aids, Art2Be has adopted the following three-phase project model:
- Participant recruitment and Home visits
|Participation is on voluntary basis and recruitment takes place through community-based HIV/Aids support groups. At times, we limit participation to only women or an equal number of women and men, or we set age limits according to the workshop focus (e.g. work with young mothers). With the consent of the participants, we then visit each person at their home in order to initiate personal contact, gain insight into the participant’s social context and together prepare a first (taped) document of the person’s life story. Topics during the informal interview at home include key moments in the participant’s life, his/her experiences of living with HIV/Aids, the support available, and his/her vision of the future. || |
- 5-day Body Mapping Workshop
Workshops are always conducted in a comfortable and confidential setting, usually within the participants’ community. In order to provide an emotionally safe place to remember, rework and share personal experiences, much emphasis is placed on respectful and caring partner work, open group exchange, and non-judgmental creative work. Combining elements from art therapy, narrative therapy and body work / dance movement therapy, we guide participants through a clearly defined sequence of exercises and creative tasks. This step-by-step approach ensures a gradually introduction to the use of paint and the translation of memories, thoughts and feelings into images.
3. Exhibition and documentation
|Many of the exercises and tasks are adopted from Jonathan Morgan’s original ‘Memory Box Project’ methodology, now further developed by Colin Ameleh at University of Cape Town (asru_ map.html, www.repssi.org). Other exercises have been included by Art2Be, such as a series of touch and visualization exercises that heighten body awareness and strengthen the link between the lived and the represented (painted) body. On the artistic side, we focus on the development and interaction of individual symbols that bring together life events, physical experience and imagination. Examples for such symbols are symbol of origin, symbol of the virus and illness, symbol of strength and symbol of support.|| |
Following the workshop, participants retain ownership of their body maps and decide how to use them. In addition, every artist receives an A3-sized laminated copy of their body map which they can take home and show to family and friends. Since stigma and discrimination linked to HIV/Aids is very strong in Kenya, many people find it difficult to reveal their status even within close personal relationships. The small-sized body maps are therefore designed to assist participants in broaching the subject in a less direct and threatening way.
| ||Despite the difficulties in disclosure at home, most participants decide to stage group exhibitions in the larger community. These generally take place outside on a market place or busy pedestrian crossroads. Whenever possible, the artists stand next to their map and respond to the questions of the public.|
At different intervals after the workshop, we conduct group and individual follow-up interviews to receive feedback. Together with the participant, we also review the initially taped life story and prepare a final document that can – if the person consents - be printed, exhibited next to the body map and used for other documentation.