Our first group in 2017 which I will be discussing are three female artists, Nora Teichert who was with us for three months, Svenja Hohlt one month and kyra Sacks two weeks.
Included is a brief summary of the artist and an interview.
Trina Lerner Brammah
Painter, working at ‘De Beeldvormers’ from Holland, living in Amsterdam.
The first couple of nights for Kyra at Sachaqa, was overwhelming. I guess the transition from working hard in the city of Amsterdam, to a small earthen built house with palm roof and compost toilet can take a bit to get used to. The noises at night time are intimidating, grass hoppers, frogs, chicharas, owls, bats, crickets, fire fly’s and strange birds like Potoo, an orchestra of noises which can appear really scary to someone used to more mechanical city noises. It normally takes a week to adjust to the Amazon and Kyra only has two. Although her studio space quickly filled up with sketches of these new surroundings.
Kyra has an interesting job at home sketching activities in office meetings, prisons, universities, police stations, government organisations etc. she and her friend initiated the project and are now overrun with work. The process is somehow healing for their clients, as to have an outsider observe and capture activities happening in an artistic, emotional way, allows her subjects to see what is happening in their day to day situations, they can see themselves in a different mirror.
Quite an exciting concept to respond to the jungle in the same way, observing how it moves around you and how it affects you emotionally. The artist, healer metamorphoses in a natural setting, from being the mirror of others in the city, she is now forced to see her own reflection in the beautiful jungle around her.
In a short period of time Kyra has visited Chazuta (paper and chocolate,) a Quechua Lamista artisan to see the making and firing of clay pots, Huacamillo waterfall, pigment courses, Sculpture Trail and Añaquiwi clear river springs. I guess sometimes when you only have a short period of time you accomplish so much more.
Interview with Kyra –
Why come to a residency in the Amazon Rainforest?
For me it was an excuse to get away, I love to travel and to stay in one place long enough to indulge in my drawing. I was looking for somewhere remote, to disconnect and Sachaqa felt like a good place.
How was it to live at Sachaqa?
My stay had two chapters, the first part was confronting; to run into myself. I thought I was a strong person in my regular life, thought I was independent, and could be alone. The rules change in the jungle it takes time to adjust.
What are these new rules?
How to cook with what is available, how to dress to protect yourself from insects. Emotions you didn’t know you had come to the surface, I really didn’t think the jungle would affect me in this way, I am surprised how I responded to this environment. I was afraid of things I didn’t know I would be, afraid of being alone without distractions, solitude is hard. I wanted to run away. There is no real darkness in the city also, the darkness here scared me. Even though I am well-travelled and speak Spanish, the contrast to where I had come from was a culture shock.
Through staying at Sachaqa I realise how far removed we are from nature in the Western world. It surprised me how little we know about medicinal plants, which is common practise here and how little I know about animal behaviour and insects.
What was the second chapter of your experience?
I was able to tune in more, I got used to everything, in the end living in the jungle gave me more energy, and now feel thrilled to be here. From being afraid of the darkness I began to appreciate the Sun, shining through my bedroom window in the morning, you find a natural rhythm and adjust to it.
In the Western world there is so much information coming at you all the time, it is so nice to disconnect from that.
How did the other artists influence you?
When I first arrived Nora and Svenja were already in a deep creative process, which had created a bubble around them, it hurt me to feel disconnected from that. This made me feel lonely as I was having such a difficult time. In the end this is just what I needed, to focus on myself. In my everyday life I am used to thinking about other people, so to learn how to concentrate on myself was hard.
So this process was important?
Yes definitely – time alone gave me the space to find myself, allowed me to find my own motivation and peace. A time to listen to myself and my needs.
I have learnt to find my own bubble of protection, to not allow people in their own rightful process to effect and disrupt my centre, I have found a balance here, which took time but now feels good. I have learnt to be happy with myself, in such a short time. Svenja and Nora are really great people though once we all got to know one another and I could feel part of the same deep creative process.
How did you find your adventures with Daniel?
I loved walking in nature, a great time to think, meditate, I loved our hikes to ‘El Mirador,’ village of Chunchiwi, Añakiwi, the area is beautiful and there is so much more to see. Sachaqa is so close to the town but when you walk a little away you realise where you are and it is inspiring, we are 15 minutes from the ‘Cordillera Escalera’ reserve.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
This experience has made me realise that there are so many possibilities and so many more realities out there than the one we live in, so much healing potential outside of our medical and physiological institutions.
It was a gift – I came here to draw and received so much more.
Can you give me three words to describe your Sachaqa experience?
#challenging #tranquil #energising