My piece, entitled on behalf of my body, explores living in the body after sexual trauma and touches on the intersectionality of sexual violence, ptsd, dissociation and separation from the self. The piece is also an exploration of how the settler body can live in Turtle Island, as approached through the story of my diasporic and refugee ancestry. I am making this piece because I struggle with my place on this land, having no homeland of my own, but still being an uninvited guest. My people have been wandering for 2000 years, and now I find myself here – my body a site of so many struggles, politicized without my permission by the forces of anti-semitism, racism, nationalism, western medicine, patriarchy and rape culture. How do I walk back into my body after being forced from it in so many ways? What does recovery mean when I’m not sure what was there before or whether I can get back there. Was there a before?
This is the journey I invite you to go on with me – it’s going to be a wild ride! I am eternally lucky to be creating this piece with my best friend and platonic soulmate life partner, Sasha, an incredible dancer. In this way, the piece is also about friendship love, the most nourishing, life saving kind of love there is. Although not my usual art form, I am excited to be exploring this story through dance because of the space provided for the viewer to find their own meaning in what they are watching.
I invite you to reach out if any of these themes are yours too. In rebuilding this world we will need to hold each other’s stories very gently
– Ariel Martz-Oberlander