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Online Panel / Growing Around Our Grief with Jotika Healing Arts

May 5 @ 6:00 pm 8:00 pm PDT

Thursday, May 5th at 6pm, join Massy Arts and Jotika Healing Arts for the online panel: Growing Around Our Grief.

For the event, attendees are invited to a night of storytelling and resilience around grief with artists Jotika Chaudhary Samant, Paola Quirós-Cruz, Maneesa Veeravel, Geneva Stowell, and host Joanne Tsung. At the online panel, artists will share how they use the arts as a tool to process, listen to their own grief, and cope.

“We will explore what has helped us cope with our grief. We will share our interdisciplinary art, invite some discussion, and offer prompts and questions to support you in your grief.”, says organizer Jotika Chaudhary Samant.

Attendees are encouraged to bring arts + writing materials to the event, as artists will share prompts to support artistic processes around grief. They will also offer a few ‘virtual door prizes’ that we will be giving out centered around grief and resilience.

The event will be hosted at Massy Arts’ Zoom platform.

Registration is upon ticket fee, and registration is mandatory.

Click here to register to the event

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Growing Around Our Grief

There is no one way to grieve. Grief can knock us right off our tracks. It is an involuntary process that our bodies need to go through when experiencing loss.

Our bodies are so wise and continue to hold us together even when we are falling apart. And, sometimes, we need to fall apart; sometimes the pain is so great we need to cry, wallow, and be in the depths of it all. Each of our bodies is different and our grief may look very different. However, one thing is for certain: we need to have space to grieve and mourn our losses.

In the West, we live in cultures that don’t talk about these things enough. We don’t allow people enough time they need to rest, mourn, and grieve. We have a lot of misconceptions about what grief is and when people display it, we often think something is wrong with them. Often grief gets medically ‘diagnosed’ as depression and doctors want to treat it with medication.

What are the ways you mourn? What rituals do you have in place? What rituals would you like to have in place? In the past, how have you responded and reacted to loss?  What could help you create these rituals and practices? What/who supports you in times of pain? Sorrow? Grief? What/who holds you up?  What do you need when things are hard? These can be some of the hardest questions and experiences of being human.

We cope through community, family, relationships, nature, spirituality, art, groups, and so many more. What is helping you get through? In these times of ongoing uncertainty and ongoing oppression for marginalized peoples, the grieving feels like it never ends. There is always loss. There is always something, someone to fight towards, fight for, to work towards a more just society. It has been a hard time for so many. Everyone has experienced grief of some sort over the past 2 years. Some have continued to experience grief, compounded, complex, and painful.

As artists, we use the arts to hold our pain, process our stories, and tend to the wounds we carry. Art can be a container, conduit, and/or tool to help us get through. Art helps us hold excruciating experiences, supports us to make sense of the nonsensical, and gives us space to process as we grieve all of our losses. 

Join us for a night of exploring experiences with grief, including how we break, how we cope, and how we continue to hold on, with a small group of artists. We will share our process, our art, parts of ourselves, and how we mourn our losses. Bear witness to us and how we continue to survive, heal, thrive, fumble, and live. Few people are doing well during these hard times. Let’s be honest about it, share our struggles, and talk about what can help and what is supporting people to get through.

– Text by Jotika Chaudhary Samant

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Meet The Artists

Joanne Tsung hails from the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Fat, queer and tattooed, Joanne has found solace and community in writing comedy and has performed for New Moon Comedy and Millennial Line in Vancouver and virtually for comedy shows in Seattle (Model Minority) and Winnipeg (Party Mix).

Jotika Chaudhary Samant is a glitter Queer and a chronically ill Femme. Her lineage is Fijian of Indian descent. She is a settler on the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. She comes from a working-class family and the first person in her immediate family to graduate University. She is an Interdisciplinary Artist, a Community Organizer, a Social Worker and an Expressive Arts Therapist. She is deeply passionate about the arts as a profound and powerful tool to support a coming back into our bodies and working towards healing. She has been organizing arts events, such as performance nights, arts markets, community spaces, since 2012 within the QTBIPoC communities she is a part of. Jotika started her private Expressive Arts Therapy practice Jotika Healing Arts in 2020 and loves working with folks of colour to support them to reconnect with their bodies through understanding the affects of trauma on our nervous systems and use the arts as a tool for processing and storytelling. She has not organized an event in over 2 years and really stoked about this collaboration with Massey Arts! More about her and my work Jotikahealingarts.com

Maneesa Veeravel is an interdisciplinary artist and arts educator with over a decade of experience in creation, facilitation and community based anti-oppressive work. They are a mad, queer, Tamil, gender fluid, chronically ill survivor settled on the stolen, traditional and ancestral lands of the Wendake-Nionwentsïo, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinabewaki territories. Their artwork reflects intergenerational wits, wounds and wisdoms as it pertains to land, body and the notion of belonging. Arts, information and communication technology has always been their way of accessing truth, grounding and alignment. Maneesa values transformative justice, radical transparency and collaborative care through visual art, film, sound design and more.  Learn more about Maneesa and their work www.maneesaveeravel.com

Paola Quirós-Cruz aka La Maga is a femme Colombian immigrant living in the unceded, stolen, and ancestral lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. She identifies as a bruja, roots and ancestor’s venerator, emergent artist, yerbatera, and community organizer. Paola is all about putting ideas into action where voices and bodies are celebrated, where belonging is a feeling to hold, and nourish, and also where there is space to advocate and honour joy and emotional grief. Paola curated “In between homes” zine, a compilation of writing and graphic pieces of Latinx living in Canada sharing their experiences living away from their land of origin, and finding themselves living in between territories, and “Door Eye” a compilation of writing pieces sharing intergenerational stories of folks queering at a late age, or queer young immigrants navigating queer western ideas of belonging. Recently she co-created an open altar  to honor and celebrate the lives of QTBIPOC no longer with us due to systemic racism and a global pandemic. Rituals, curation of altars, art and community co-creation have been anchors to connect Paola’s with her ancestral rhizome. Paola’s art practise and writings are informed by personal experiences of sexual violence survivorship, intergenerational trauma spells, deep longing to intimacy, saudade to find belonging, ancestor seeking, and the ongoing lessons of let go from emotional grief. 

Geneva Stowell is a fat, queer, disabled, 2spirit, dork who loves to laugh. They are of mixed secwepemc and white settler ancestry. Geneva stared writing as an outlet for sadness/grief/trauma when they were in their early teens. Writing has (mostly) been a tool to process their emotions and share their experiences with others. As a white passing indigenous person Geneva is consistently exploring their relationship to their ancestral lands and the lands they’ve lived on in the past, present, and future. They would like to acknowledge that the lands they’ve called home for the past decade are the unceded, occupied lands of the ʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. 

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