One of the highlights of the cabaret at this year’s Transition Conference was the screening of a documentary featuring people with words painted on their bodies – words that revealed something about them that would never be visible from the outside. This was In Your Own Skin, a multi-media social project by the artist and photographer, Katheryn Trenshaw, set to music by Juliet Russell.
IN YOUR OWN SKIN: 100 Photographic Portraits Revealing Our Inner Truth. With a camera and bodypaint in hand, Katheryn Trenshaw approached over 150 people and asked them: What is true of you that is not obvious to strangers? After conferring with the artist and themselves, the participants then chose a word (or phrase) that revealed something about themselves that was unknown to others. Trenshaw collected nearly 150 portraits of subjects from more than thirty countries and all walks of life. Each of their photographs reveals a living story. Here she explains what underlies the project and why it is seeking crowd-funding:
Katheryn Trenshaw: If we want to be resilient and deal with the difficulties that will arise as we lose our supply of oil we need each other, and it’s important to know who is in there with us in a very real and whole way.
I want to know what makes people happy and what keeps people strong in challenging times. In other words, I am a kind of hidden treasure hunter. And I am on a transition mission researching RESILIENCE and how creativity and inner transition work can play a role in this transition.
I have been influenced by many over the last 30 plus years of this exploration. I met the eco-philosopher, Joanna Macy, about 13 years ago in San Francisco with my then 1-year-old babe-in-arms at a conference. I was deeply moved by the strong resonances in our work, in a shared passion for helping people transform despair and apathy, in the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, into constructive, collaborative action. In Your Own Skin project helps to create strong vibrant healthy community, on which a Transition initiatives are based. It creates a bridge that enables people on an ‘edge’ in our community to engage with Transition who might otherwise not.
We all have projections and we make assumptions as we walk around in our day-to-day lives. This allows us to compartmentalise our lives. It makes things a simpler. We decide: good, bad, right, wrong. It’s neat and tidy. The problem with this is it’s usually based on only part of the picture. There’s always something that we don’t know. And everybody has a story. We also all hold powerful gifts that will be ever more important to share.
What is true of you that is not obvious to strangers?
A few years ago I had an epiphany. I realised that the greatest treasure I hold buried in me is the thing I least want anyone to know about. I realised that the sooner I could learn to embrace and dance with this, the sooner I could unabashedly share my gifts and lead a more fulfilling life. Collectively this marked the difference between being able to thrive in these transition times and our demise.
Most of us are ‘caught’ in the pain of our persona, our public face, which is less than who we really are. I think for Transition anything that encourages us to emerge from behind our masks will help to build community by embracing the qualities that cooperative community is built on. (Naresh Giangrande, co-founder Transition Town Totnes)
This “vein of gold” hidden inside is true in all of us. My hope is that by collectively sharing what is hidden as a gift to others, we will all live in a more connected resilient and ultimately a wholehearted way.
More information about In Your Own Skin Project and Kickstarter* Campaign www.inyourownskin.org.
To become a backer: IN YOUR OWN SKIN Kickstarter campaign (a collaborative funding platform for creative projects). Web donations also possible after this month.