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Art, Activism & Myth: Embodying Grief by Alana Bloom

London based artist and performer Alana Bloom brings ‘Artemis’ to Vault Festival, a physical theatre show exploring environmentalism through the lens of mythology. Passionate about the natural living world, Bloom tells a moving story as a warning to our current inaction on climate change. She creates performance centred around movement, embodiment, nature, ecology and myth whilst regularly producing and facilitating creative retreats and spaces that explore the same themes as a means for healing and meaningful change.
A number of years ago I was struck by how utterly powerless I felt to create meaningful change within my chosen artistic path. I wasn’t a doctor, or scientist, nor a journalist, I was edging towards the end of five years of training in Physical Theatre and Circus and felt as though the world around me was spiralling into an abyss with so much talk about environmentalism, ecology and climate change. It sparked a deep seed of care within me for the natural living world and something was evoked that required me to dedicate my art and creativity into discovering how I might inspire that meaningful change.
Fast forward to the present day and my solo work Artemis is the outcome of exploring this dedication. A performance that crosses the territory of prayer, ritual, storytelling and magick making. I chose to work with archetype partly from working with the Tarot but also from the curiosity I felt the more I researched and tumbled down the rabbit hole of myth. There is much to be decoded and learned from the myths and stories that have been passed down through time to us. Working with the archetype of the Guardian and Huntress that Artemis embodies, has been a huge inquiry into my womanhood, how to reclaim that space, how to live sustainably as an artist, my independence, my connection with the natural world, but above all, I have come to understand through this journey, the utter weight of the grief that is held between us all.
I’m sure many others experience those heart-wrenching tremors of grief when you hear another story of destruction, of chaos, of capitalism. Some of us feel it more than others. It rocks my soul when I think about how the abundant wildlife of the world has been affected by humans.
It is a privilege to belong to an intentional community where nearly everyone, in some way, is part of creating the change they want to see within the world, from outer to inner activism. I have friends who are using the law to protect trees, friends teaching about colonialism and embodied intersectionality, meditation teachers who are working in schools, so many friends who regularly turn up to the Extinction Rebellion actions and even a friend who has dedicated her time to restoring ecosystems. It's inspiring to be submerged around people that are dedicated to creating meaningful change, it feeds and fans my own fire.

I’ve definitely had to face some shadows when it comes to justifying my work as a performer, but more and more, I see how the realms of story and magic are just as much needed where we are heading. There is much healing that can be explored through holding space for our grief and rage through the energy and ritual of performance. If we are to create a new story of being in the world, one which is interconnected, that it means that we have much to learn from our emotional landscape and how our suppression of feeling has greatly affected our ability to feel, therefore offering spaces for grief could be vital in healing the trauma we have havoced upon the world.
And so, I offer up this hour-long performative prayer as a way to hold and feel that grief and to transform it into hope. To embody the story of our time, to explore both its weight and lightness, to use performance as a form of activism, to bring magic into the pits of the city and to do what humans have always done and tell stories, to gather together, to sing and dance and howl at the moon with hope, hope that it is much bigger than our little lives can imagine.
Part of VAULT Festival 2019
at The Vaults
27th February - 3rd March 2019 // Tickets £15
Wednesday - Sunday 21:00 - 22:00 // Sunday 3rd Matinee 16:30 -17.30
Tickets and further programme information: vaultfestival.com

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