Loisaida Inc. presents

The Cultural Memory Project

Masks of Time and Remembrance

A Loisaida Inc. SU-CASA Project


Download the full report!

Also, check out the video created by participants, click here.


Project Description:

Masks are trans-cultural symbols of physical/psychological transformation, tools of memory and are communication devices. The project will engage seniors in generating reflections of their lives, in some cases tales of immigration or migration with the goal of assembling characters and vignettes to create video and sculptural artwork. For participants suffering from dementia, the exercise will be based on creative storytelling techniques that give aging adults the freedom to “perform.”

The initial process will be sparked through different mindfulness, and corporeal exercises, in tandem with a selection of memorable photographs from their own collections, to help them identify, tell, write, and illustrate a story about a significant place, ritual, practice, cultural celebration, associated with their sense of inclusion and care for family and community.

Group sharing will stimulate individual reflection of personal identity traits and correlation with mythological characters to help participants organize their thoughts towards the concept design of their individual masks.

Through prompts, textual and visual exercises, participants will be encouraged to create a fantastical character inspired by their reflections. This character will be further developed through exercises in diverse mediums of drawing, painting, and creating sculpture of papier-mâché masks and theatrical sessions to develop the short scripts for individual video-art pieces. Participants will learn how to tell a story—verbally, visually, and also learn how to plan and edit their vignettes.
The project will be completed by individually filming each participant in their daily life wearing their fantastical character’s mask and talking about how their character represents not only a part of themselves based on a chosen cultural memory, but also visualize their own role as contributors to their neighborhood’s cultural imprint and sense of community belonging.

The project concludes with a public program component, consisting of a public exhibition of the masks and video screening at either the Loisaida Inc. Center and/or the Senior Center. Most significantly, participants and audience will be given an opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate the insight of community-making and neighborhood character through the personal histories/stories, which will be documented and commemorated through the video art project and the masks as art objects, both permanent mediums that can be shared with their families, friends and larger community. *

*This project and its curriculum and activities have been conceptualized in a way as to allow for modification and input from the particular senior center and community that choses the Loisaida Cultural Memory Project as their SU-CASA program.


WORK PLAN & SCHEDULE (Subject to Modification)

The Project curriculum will be presented by the artists to the seniors over 15 approximately two hour contact sessions. There will be two complete 15 session series that will take place during the period from January 1, 2017 to June 30 2017, for a total of at least 60 contact hours of activity.


1st Phase: Reflection and Memory:

The seniors will be encouraged to develop a reflection of their lives through different relaxation, meditation and corporeal exercises, encompassing memories, migration and immigration stories, cultural identities and other significant experiences. The goal is to create a confidence between the seniors and the artists where thought streams of memories could be shared and develop into artistic and creative mediums.

Objective:

  • Engage seniors in this project aiming for their well-being through their full participation
  • Generate dynamics between the participants and the artist to feel comfortable sharing significant memories
  • Converge the past and the present, validating the importance of elders memories
  • Trace a memory line to define each participant cultural identity
  • Help the participants understand the body as an entity with memories and discovering its potential
  • Introduce mythology as a way of understanding human experiences and memories

Benefits:

  • Therapeutic relief
  • Validation of memories
  • Body and mind relaxation and exercise
  • Life substantiation of participants
  • Psychological healing
  • Self analyze, acceptance, and forgiveness

Outcome:

  • Chronological timeline of memories
  • Understanding resemblance between human experiences and mythology
  • Personal writings/recordings about memories
  • Discovery of important or lost memories
  • Stories of each participant

Schedule:

1st Session:  Memory and Identity/ Collage Technique

2nd Session: Corporal Memory

3rd Session: Childhood and life Memories Writing

4th Session: Mythology and Human Experiences


2nd Phase: Art Workshops and Mask Creation

During this phase, artists will share various art techniques of expression with the seniors in order to offer them an efficient tool to express their personal significant experiences and memories. This will include drawing, painting and sculpture workshops.  This process will lead the participants to the creation of a mask that represents their identity the same will be utilized in the recording of the video.

Objective:

  • Coach and exercise basic skills for expression
  • Adopt different art mediums as a canal to express memories
  • Create a Character that represents a significant memory
  • Develop the Character into a Mask
  • Bring alive a significant memory through mask characterization

Benefits:

  • Introspective and comprehension process through arts
  • Self-exploration
  • Exercise imagination and creativity
  • Basic development of motor skills
  • Learning simple and efficient manual techniques
  • Healing emotions and feelings
  • Reducing pain, anxiety and tension
  • Improve mental, emotional and physical states

Outcome:

  • Creation and development of a mythological/fantastical character that represents a significant memory
  • Obtain a variety of drawings, painting and sculptures from the process of creation
  • Each participant will acquire a material artistic result from their own memory exercise
  • Creating a potential material for the video

Schedule:

5th Session: How to represent our emotions trough drawing and Painting, Color psychology and healing

6th Session:  Line and expression (Drawing) and Clay Modeling and hand therapy

7th Session: Papier-Mâché Modeling and Mask creation process

8th Session: Mask creation process

9th Session: Mask creation process

10th Session: Finishing the mask and Physical Theater for development of character


3rd Phase: Making a Video

The video will explore the daily spaces frequented by the seniors in a creative way. The artist will record the senior individually with their masks with a voiceover of the participants talking about their memories. The video will be a documentation of the creative process and final outcome of the program as a video projection part of the art exhibition.

Objective:

  • Impact on seniors center and surrounding community
  • Create audiovisual material from the process of the workshops
  • Generate a video with the participant wearing their masks in their daily spaces
  • Record voiceovers with the participants memories
  • Edit a video with the process and outcomes of the program

Benefits:

  • Getting audiovisual material for the participant to keep
  • Preservation of our seniors most significant memories
  • Involving the participants in a video production process
  • Experience for the participants to express themselves in front of a camera in an artistic and creative way

Outcome:

  • An Art Video made in collaboration between artists and participants
  • Documentation of the creative process and final product

Schedule:

11th Session: Video Filming

12th Session: Video Filming

13th Session: Video Filming/editing


4th Phase: Video and Mask Exhibition

The artists and the seniors will curate, install and host an exhibition that will portray the final outcome of the program. This will include the art video, drawings and paintings made during the workshops, and the masks.  It will be a special opportunity for the seniors to share their memories and experiences and impact the surrounding community in a creative and positive way.

Schedule:

14th Session: Getting ready for the exhibition

15th Session: Exhibition and video projection public event


ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Zuleyka Alejandro: Multidisciplinary artist from Puerto Rico who integrates art and education as a creative axiom, with a BFA in Fine Arts from Universidad de Puerto Rico. Has conducted communities art based projects with Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Bread and Puppet among others in Puerto Rico, US and Taiwan. She is co-founder of a theater collective Poncili that explores the impact of art in high-need communities around Puerto Rico. Zuleyka is currently working in the Loisaida Inc Center as Education and Community Outreach manager, where she is responsible for the coordination, execution of educational and artistic projects such as Garbagia Island project. Works with various mediums such as painting, sculpture, video and performance.

Juan B. Climent: Mexican painter and drawer focused in mythological themes and deities. His work encompasses video and sculpture. He has studied Animation and Digital Arts in Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico City, and has a BFA in Painting from Universidad de Artes Plásticas in Puerto Rico. Founder of The Free and Public Drawing School in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a project supported by the Municipality of San Juan, where he offered drawing lessons to high need communities, ranging from kids to seniors. Climent was also Program Director at Area Gallery in Caguas, Puerto Rico and was certified instructor at IDECCO (Institute of Cognitive and Consciousness development) in Mexico City. Currently working in the Bronx at Casita Maria, Center for the Arts and Education, as an Art Teacher with marginalized communities.