Art, Immigration, and Dreaming: An Experimental Workshop

An international group of artists join together to explore their dreams.

Posted Apr 18, 2018

Kelly Bulkeley
Source: Kelly Bulkeley

In a few weeks (May 11-13), six professional artists and I will gather in New York City for an experimental workshop on the interplay of dreaming, artistic creativity, and the realities of life as an immigrant. The participants are an incredibly talented group, and I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to learn from them. The artists include:

Alisa Minyukova. Born in Leningrad, living in New York City.

Victor Mutelekesha. Born in Zambia, living in Oslo, Norway. 

Jennifer Cabrera Fernandez. Born in Mexico, living in Venice, Italy.

Viktoria Sorochinski. Born in Ukraine, living in Berlin, Germany.

Lana Nasser. Born in Jordan, living in the Netherlands.

Kristof Persyn. Born in the Netherlands, living in Belgium.

Alisa originally came up with the idea for the project, and since the beginning of the year she and I have been in regular conversation with these artists via video conferences, talking about their dreams and exploring questions of language, identity, and meaning in both art and dreaming. As an overarching concept for the workshop, Alisa has been developing the idea of “dream mapping.” We will experiment and play with various ways of mapping the terrain of our dreaming landscapes, orienting ourselves to their most important features, and tracking our dream personas as they journey through these imaginal realms. Each artist brings a lifetime of personal and cultural experience with dreaming, which bodes well for the creative energies we hope to generate together.

A few other people have been invited to join the workshop at various points to add their ideas to the mix. Bernard Welt, a long-time friend from the International Association for the Study of Dreams and a leading expert on dreaming and the arts, will lead a discussion about dreams in film.  Gheorghe Costinescu, an esteemed musician and composer, will share an illustrated dream journal he has kept for many years and describe musical pieces he has written based on his dreams. We’re hoping that Omboy, an artist and healer, will open and close the workshop with a Singing Bowl meditation practice.  

A major motivation for the gathering is the rising hostility and violence towards immigrants all over the world. We believe artists can be a powerful force in promoting greater recognition of our shared humanity, especially artists who are deeply attuned to the multiple identities that emerge within their own dreaming depths. The goal of the workshop will be to generate creative insights about overcoming fears of otherness and illuminate new paths toward personal and collective integration. 

Kristof will be creating a video documentary of the workshop, which is sure to become an interesting creative work of its own. I'll write another post soon after the event to share initial impressions and plans going forward.