Dancing for resilience is a powerful community building endeavor. Especially when addressing an issue as triggering as the rape culture connected to the electronic industries, LowTide label and I wanted to host an event that would uplift the audience, not overwhelm them while supporting Ibutwa. People coming together to learn more about conflict minerals out of respect for vulnerable families in the DRC set the stage for an intimate evening of learning and expressing a wide range of emotions. Sound moves energy which is why we continuously sent intentions for healing to the DRC throughout the night.
With the numerous local artists who volunteered to play at the event and who were also born but forced to leave the DRC due to the unstable conditions, so much love was sent by the group for healing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Seeing how connected we all are to Africa and our electronic devices in general, inviting people to join the conflict free movement unfolded naturally. As more people learned about the harsh realities in the DRC, the invitation to participants was extended to take this issue into their own hands.
Before entering the space, we posted multiple cardboard boxes on the walls as canvases for supporters of the conflict free society movement to leave their mark. One panel said, “what does consent mean to you?”, followed by, “what does rebirth mean to you?”, alongside two blank boxes for people to freely express themselves as a contribution to the renaissance. Ibutwa translates to rebirth and renaissance in Lega, which is why we asked the audience to consider those two questions before entering the event. Addressing rape culture is intense, as many people are triggered when addressing conversations about this kind of physical and psychological abuse. Knowing this, we wanted to create a safe environment that had artistic supplies available, as we believe that art therapy is a powerful way to transmute negative emotions that surface when contemplating the crisis in DR Congo.
By getting together for a special night of solidarity, creativity and raising awareness about the conflict free movement, LowTide label was able to make a donation of around $300 from the $5 cover charges at the door. It was truly amazing that multiple artists volunteered to perform as contributions to the modern day renaissance.
Performances by local artists ranged from poetry readings by Devon Webb, a divinely inspired writer who is about to launch her second book at the same venue, LowTide, on August 11th at 7pm. Leva Kusari, Samantha Segalas-Shaw and Nicolas Fabiano also read poems that captivated the crowd. All of the speakers pulled on different heart strings and I will always be grateful for the authenticity and vulnerability that was shared.
The first band to perform, Triplelan Band, was composed of musicians who were actually born in DR Congo. When they heard about the mission of the Vermont Ibutwa Initiative, they were excited to share their Congolese culture with the Auckland community. They had the crowd hyped! Lucy-Mae, the pianist for another local reggae band called Surrey Boudit, played a solo set after. Followed by her moving performance, Niamh Pritchard and Ollie Warren sang Revolution by the Beatles. You can hear her voice if you check out the band she sings for called My Anatomy. She also individually sang Knockin On Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan. The dynamic duo was a hit, which made the transition for Munk smooth, as Ollie is the singer for that band. They brought the funk and had everyone in the room sweating. Their set was groovy to say the least! To end the evening, Nadine, another local artist who had been raised in the DRC, brought us on a transcendental journey during her DJ set. Using sound, the group was brought closer together as we closed the ceremony with hopes for a conflict free future throughout all societies.
The pop up gallery in LowTide also featured two local artists named Poppy Jensen & Rayna Widger. Poppy brought prints of beautiful ladies to honor the divine feminine and Rayna brought a number of fascinating sketches and oil paintings of women in various different scenarios. Sam Segalas-Shaw also made more digital art pieces of African women inspired by Ibutwa.