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Giving Name to the Nameless

Saturday May 18 at 11:00 am - 12:30 pm EDT

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Art credit: “History” by Maggie Fishman

In her essay “Poetry is not a Luxury,” Audre Lorde writes: “Through poetry we give name to the nameless so it can be thought.” Lorde’s teachings speak of art as the bridge to what we feel but cannot see or say, which, once made accessible through imagery and language, changes our vision, capacities, and actions. 

In this salon, Anna Motz and Maggie Fishman are in conversation about their shared passions and experiences with artistic and therapeutic processes through which people give name to the nameless, and in so doing transform their experience in the world.

Underlying this conversation are questions such as: What is the role of language and expression in healing/transformation? How do we engage with trauma, pain, and violence to transform it? How do we stop violence from being passed on? How do we understand a continuum of violence and our place on it? How do conscious and unconscious processes interact?  What structures enable traumatic memories to surface without overwhelming?  How do we come to know ourselves through artmaking? 

Motz, a forensic psychotherapist and author, and Fishman, an artist, anthropologist, and educator, will discuss their work in prison therapy sessions, artist studios, and NYC public school classrooms. They will explore what the processes of engaging the unknown look and feel like in these spaces, in the presence of institutional and internalized forces that keep this nameless underground.

Photo credits: Anna Motz by David Fisher.

This event will be recorded.


Poetry is not a Luxury, Audre Lorde

The Squiggle Game, Donald Winnicott. This article describes a therapeutic encounter with a child in which the child uses drawing to surface emotions and ideas that surprise him; the therapist establishes a relationship that makes this possible.

The End of Oil, a painting and book project: Maggie Fishman (Instagram – @maggiefishman) Images from this work in progress which uses artistic process as embodied research to discover what intellectual understanding has to do with living in a body.

An Artist’s Work Process

Notice, Describe and Ask

Maggie Fishman with the Bridges project. These web pages facilitate children working through an embodied art process in which they discover and engage with their hidden ideas, feelings, and unique ways of working. To do so, these pages reframe the rules of the classroom, describing new concepts, roles, and conversation protocols that shift relationships and power dynamics between adults and children and what can be seen and valued. 

Films from prisons  Incarcerated people tell their stories through animation, facilitated by Tony Gammidge.

Self-harm as a sign of hope Anna Motz writes about a therapeutic encounter with a woman “speaks with the skin” – using her body –  to communicate what words cannot.

Hiding and Being LostAnna Motz describes the experience of women in mixed-sex secure units and the things that are hidden from view that emerge in poetry, art, and therapy.



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Saturday May 18
11:00 am - 12:30 pm EDT
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Anna Motz
Maggie Fishman


Ticket price (US$)