Livia Klein, initiator and artistic director of unsichtbar, about our unsichtbar retreat “Embracing all of your Body: What true harmony, self-love and healing can achieve”.

What inspired and motivated unsichtbar to organize an event in the form of a body retreat? What stands behind this project?

At our first exhibition and panel discussion in March 2022 the focus was on how to make the problem of sexualized violence as such more visible within our society. Later on in September 2022 I curated an exhibition at Parallel Vienna, where we specialized on the topic ‘TORN BODIES: visualizing trauma and the stigmatized body’. During our September exhibition it was important to us to create a space where this problem was discussed and made aware of in a visual way, as especially the effects of sexualized violence on a body are still broadly overlooked. Following up on our exhibition on TORN BODIES, Helena Gabriel-Oiwoh, co-founder and head of content at unsichtbar, Elena Castellucci, holistic health and energy coach, and Amina Burloiu, artist and graphic designer, created a new event format that combines artistic and holistic health approaches in order to support people who experienced trauma through sexualized violence: A 4-hours retreat titled “Embracing all of your Body: What true harmony, self-love and healing can achieve”, which will be all about reconnecting with one’s body, about healing and about treating the issue of the traumatized and stigmatized body on an individual level.

So, correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like a whole journey: first raising awareness about sexualized violence in general, then discussing the effects of sexualized violence on the body and now empowering people who experienced sexualized violence to reconnect with their bodies – and all of that by the means of arts.

In retrospect it can be seen like that yes. This journey also represents the key aims of unsichtbar: giving people who experienced sexualized violence a voice on a societal level and empower them within their healing process on an individual level.

What kind of impact is unsichtbar hoping to have with the retreat “Embracing all of your Body: What true harmony, self-love and healing can achieve”?

I think that the impact we hope it would have on people is a certain state of acceptance of yourself, because once you experience a positive feeling towards yourself, towards your body, then you can start your healing. And what the retreat is creating here is that people who participate in it will have the possibility to feel accepted, safe, loved. Many people who are traumatized lack security in life so with a retreat like this they are able to enter into a certain state of mind, with a positive attitude toward themselves and their body.

What was the reason for choosing this date for the event?

The retreat will take place on the occasion of the „Orange the world – 16 days of activism to stop violence against women and girls“ campaign, which starts one day before our retreat on 25th November. I personally think that this campaign and its impact are crucially important for modern society, and we as unsichtbar are very happy to be part of it. But apart from that, I think the choice of date is also great because last year at this time we at unsichtbar wanted to have our opening exhibition. It would have taken place on 26th November 2021 but then the fourth covid-lockdown happened and we had to postpone it to March 2022, so the fact that now, a year later, we are doing something so meaningful at this exact date is very symbolic.

Further infos

Want to join our retreat “Embracing all of your Body: What true harmony, self-love and healing can achieve”? You can find further infos here.

Fotocredit: Kaja Clara Joo, 2022

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