The Importance of Bodies and Emotions in Political Action: A Feminist Performance Workshop in Chiapas

In November 2018 I co-organized with Colectiva Chamanas a special workshop in Kinal Antsetik, an organization led by a group of Indigenous women in San Cristobal de Las Casa (Chiapas, MX).

Colectiva Chamanas is a group of lesbian and feminist Indigenous women whose main purpose is to contribute to improving the living conditions of lesbian women in the State of Chiapas through the construction of a collective space for reflection, awareness, education and training in the fields of human rights and in the strengthening of our feminist lesbian identity.

“In the workshop, sixteen people with different racial identities (Indigenous and white), sexualities, and genders (lesbians, bisexuals, trans, and non-binary) met with the initial purpose of exploring a territory often unknown to us: our bodies and the emotions that inhabit and constitute us. The workshop also considered the importance of recognizing ourselves in each other, to promote and strengthen an alliance that allows us to reflect on the relevance of the organization and our participation in political activism with the aim of working together to improve the conditions of our existence. Among the many dynamic exercises that were developed were those that made us touch the emotions we bring “closest to the skin”, as well as those that dared us to explore the depths, the vulnerabilities, that led us to the unfathomable and painful abyss of anger and fear.” (Claudia Rosas Rios)

After the experience Claudia Rosas Rios, member of this powerful collective wrote a piece about their history and work, which was published on the Artseverywhere platform accompanied by gorgeous photos of our workshop taken by Gio Leal Gomez (also member of the colectiva). Las Chamanas speak of themselves as “lesbian and feminist activists, that recognize that they have been summoned by the spirit to heal many pains that have marked both their souls and bodies”.

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Editor’s Note

This is a story of a collaboration between two women’s organizations in the Mexican state of Chiapas—examples of a strong entanglement of art, political activism, collectivity, and solidarity in struggle. K’inal Antsetik and Colectiva Chamanas were part of co-organizing the First Feminist Congress of Chiapas and the Jornadas Lesbo Trans Feministas as well as a more recent workshop with Dani d’Emilia, in which they focused on their shared recognition of the importance of bodies and emotions in political action.