For the second year, DCMJ will be assisting in the production of Catharsis on the Mall. Scheduled to take place on Veteran’s Day weekend, November 11 to 13, on the National Mall in Washington, DC, Catharsis will feature speakers, workshops, interactive artwork, music, and feature the ceremonial burning of the Temple of Rebirth on the evening of Saturday, November 12.
Last year’s theme, “Healing from the Drug War,” was an amazing guide for the artwork. The theme creates connections and conversations when our diverse interests, knowledge, and backgrounds intersect. It is with great excitement we present the art theme for this year:
“The Journey Home”
Catharsis on the Mall’s 2016 art theme is dedicated to those who have experienced traumatic stress and their journey home.
We experience traumatic events that displace our mind, fracture our lives, and violate our perceptions. One moment can cause such upheaval, that it might seem impossible to return to that safe place we once knew. When our lives are ripped asunder, and we are left to pick up the pieces and stitch them back together, the struggle to recenter and find yourself feels insurmountable.
Traumatic stress was written in 760 BCE by a Greek poet, Homer, in the Iliad and the Odyssey, and studied by the historian Herodotus in 490 BCE. It has been present in every war ever fought. It has been present in every community that experiences rape, brutality, oppression, and systematic violence. Violence and disaster can have lasting impacts on body and mind.
Despite its timeless reach, it has widely been swept away and disregarded as a personal weakness, not a disease. The survivors of hellish trauma left to fend for themselves and often told they are “weak” or to “toughen up.” We have come along way.
Breaking through the cycles of anger, depression, and victimization with time, understanding, and forgiveness can lead us home to safe and comfortable place once more; a task infinitely easier to write than to perform. Communal experience and expression can lead to lasting transformation and peace. It can bring those who are ready home.
Home is where you feel at ease and safe. It is not pinned down to a physical location with a door and windows; it has no borders. It is a place where we take refuge and our base of operations. It is accepting and loving. We gather in this space.
We gather to celebrate wellness and reintegration. We gather for art and community. We gather to shake free from the stigmas of surviving. We gather to honor and support those who travel this road alongside us. We gather to end the silent suffering of millions. We are on the journey home together.
Catharsis on the Mall is built by the community, for the community. There will be lots of opportunities to participate at the vigil. We want your art to display, we want to hear your stories, and, most importantly, we need your help with building and running the event.
More details soon! Make sure you sign up for our e-mail list to find out the latest!