Looking Forward (2023)
Territori festival is an annual event that celebrates Performance Art in Ibiza, Spain. Curated by Isa Sanz. The festival features a diverse range of performances, workshops, and exhibitions that explore themes of identity, culture, and social justice. The workshop featured at the festival is the “Poetics of the subsoil” workshop, taught by Marina Barsy Janer and Isil Sol Vil.
Looking Forward: A Performance Art Piece About Oppression and Violence in a Religious Community
Performance ‘Looking Forward’ at the Territori Festival in Ibiza, Spain. The performance was part of a workshop named “Poetics of the subsoil” by Marina Barsy Janer and Isil Sol Vil, two artists, curators, researchers and pedagogues of performance art. The workshop aimed to explore the performance or action art from the poetic philosophy of subversive love and extreme care.
The Inspiration Behind ‘Looking Forward’
The performance was inspired by a tarot card that Mukarno randomly chose: number 4, The Emperor. The card represents authority, power, structure and stability. However, it can also signify oppression, domination and control. Mukarno decided to interpret the card in relation to his personal experience of growing up in a religious community of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Mukarno said that he felt oppressed and violated as a child by his mother who was a Jehovah’s Witness. He said that he wanted to progress in his life as a child, but he was always held back because everything was considered devilish and satanic. He said that the reason was always that God wanted it that way. He said that as a child he did not know any better. He said that everything was forbidden and bad.
The Execution of ‘Looking Forward’
The performance took place in Dalt Vila, Baluard Sant Pere in Eivissa, a UNESCO heritage site. Mukarno was naked with a rubber band around his head that covered his eyes. He also had a chain attached to his anus and to a prison cell behind him. He tried to move forward, but the chain and the rubber band pulled him back. He struggled to free himself from the bondage, but he could not see or escape.
How to support a child who is struggling with religious indoctrination
A child who wants to look forward and live his own life, but is constantly dragged back by the religious dogma and indoctrination of his mother. The chain represents the connection between the child and the prison of religion, while the rubber band represents the blindness and ignorance that prevented him from seeing reality. The white robe represented the purity and innocence of the child, while the nudity represented the vulnerability and exposure of his body and soul.
Breaking Free: How Oppressed and Abused Children Find Hope and Courage
It raised awareness about the issues of oppression and violence in religious communities, especially those that affect children and inspired others to look forward and break free from their chains.
The Effects of Religious Oppression on Children’s Mental Health and Identity
Religious oppression can profoundly impact children, affecting their psychological and emotional well-being. Children who grow up in religious communities that suppress individuality and freedom may experience feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. The suppression of personal identity and the indoctrination of religious beliefs can lead to a loss of self-esteem and a lack of confidence in one’s own abilities.
The Impact of Religious Indoctrination on Children’s Cognitive and Moral Development
Religious indoctrination can also have a significant impact on a child’s development. Children who are raised in religious communities may be taught to accept religious dogma without question, which can lead to a lack of critical thinking skills and an inability to challenge authority. This can make it difficult for children to find their own personal identity and to develop their own beliefs and values.
The Trauma of Religious Abuse: How Children Suffer from Violence and Oppression in the Name of Faith
The impact of religious oppression on children can be particularly severe in communities that use violence or other forms of abuse to enforce religious beliefs. Children who are subjected to physical or emotional abuse may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health conditions that can have long-lasting effects.
Looking Forward: How Performance Art Challenges Religious Oppression and Empowers Personal Identity
Art can be a powerful tool for resistance and self-expression in the face of religious oppression. Performance artist Philemon Mukarno’s ‘Looking Forward’ is a powerful example of how art can be used to challenge religious dogma and find personal identity. The performance is an interpretation of the Tarot card ‘The Emperor’ and explores the oppression of a child by a Jehovah’s Witness mother. The performance uses symbolism to represent the child’s struggle to break free from the chains of religious oppression.
The Struggle and Resistance of Children in Religious Communities: A Psychological and Artistic Perspective
The psychological and emotional effects of religious oppression on children can be severe and long-lasting. Children who grow up in religious communities that suppress individuality and freedom may experience feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. Religious indoctrination can also have a significant impact on a child’s development, making it difficult for them to find their own personal identity and to develop their own beliefs and values. Art can be a powerful tool for resistance and self-expression in the face of religious oppression, as demonstrated by Philemon Mukarno’s ‘Looking Forward’. It is important for parents and communities to recognize the impact of religious oppression on children and to work to create environments that promote individuality, freedom, and critical thinking.