A seven=month fellowship curated by Pillsbury House + Theatre, with support from the Jerome Foundation.
Created by Shante' Sojourn Zenith
in collaboration with
Zoa Dru (Holder of Space)
Baku Clawson (Performer)
Lillie Horton (Performer)
Premiered December 7-18, 2016
Vulneraries is a performative response to a culture that is afraid of our vulnerability—our “ability to be wounded”. In archaic usage, a “vulnerary” was a botanical remedy that created a protective layer over a wound, allowing a body to self-heal from trauma through the instinctual responses of the nervous system. Vulneraries cure not by dulling our pain but by engaging our body’s innate ability to self-heal when supported by the presence of a compassionate witness. A vulnerary could also be a parent holding a crying child, allowing that child a safe container in which to release their emotions. Or it could the forest that you walk through as you are processing a deep grief, returning to yourself through reawakening to natural cycles of growth and decomposition. Vulneraries asks: what cultural and ecological healing would be possible if we felt safe to be present to our own depth of feeling, if we had the support to traverse emotions such as grief, rage, longing, despair—which many of us know only as destructive forces that consume us—transforming what wounds us into creative acts of opening, of liberation?
Thank you to the Pillsbury House community for this adventure of artistic deepening and self-discovery. Thank you to Andreas Weber who witnessed what is alive in me; Jackie Hayes for providing a space to process; Maliya Gorman Carter for the philosophizing walks by the lake; Sulia Altenberg for the mutual reminding of self-care; to our early playmates Joshua Palmer, Lina Jamoul, Shana Eisenberg, Julia Lawler, and others who participated in experimental workshops for the project; and to the mentors and inspirations on whose shoulders I stand And unspeakable gratitude for this spontaneously formed community of kindred spirits—Zoa, Baku, and Lillie: thank you for your curiosity, compassion, and excitement, for going to the edges of your self and jumping, for holding me and growing me and enabling this process to be nourishing in a way unmatched by any product. I love you.