Transforming Conflict - an art piece: Interview to Andrea Giraldo

Transforming Conflict - an art piece: Interview to Andrea Giraldo

Andrea Giraldo López (Colombia) is the artist who collaborated to design an image for the idea of Transforming conflict in our groups.

Inspired by the research "Transforming Conflict A Group Relations Perspective" as well as Healthy Human Culture approach, she came up with that beautiful digital drawing.

This image is connected to the Conflict Resilience Series and the upcoming webinar:

Designing for Health: An Introduction to Healthy Human Culture’s 4 Quadrant Map
With Sophy Banks, Dita B Vizoso and Theresa Fend
March 14th 2024 · 12:30 - 14:00 h UTC

Interview to Andrea Giraldo López, by Eva Schonveld

Where are you based (and, if you like), where were you born - and what do you like best about either (or both)?

I am closing a 5 year cycle in the territory where my 2 first children were born: a beautiful territory inside a canyon, with an amazingly fertile micro-climate, where human and plant seeds blossom in abundance. Cocorná, is called this emerging Transition Town where crystal waters sprout from inside the earth and bless the lands and the people located in this region in the middle of the Central Andes Mountains in Colombia. I love that this territory represents the Water element in the design of my most intimate entrepreneurship, an educative project that has been guiding my path for the last 10 years. See more here.

Today I am following the calling of my heart and my womb, reaching for the waves in the ocean and being the portal for another beautiful body and soul to grow inside of me. I am expecting my third baby and amongst all the challenging thought-feelings and turning-points that emerge during pregnancy, I feel like being vessel for a treasure that is coming down to earth - this is how being a mother feels like to me… And so, in this chapter of my life, I am based in a beautiful fishermen’s town in the Caribbean coast called Rincon del Mar, which translates “The corner of the Sea” – this is a place I have visited since I was a child, and I am now super grateful to be able to bring my children to play and learn with the ocean that thought me so many things as I grew up. I love the native afro-colombian people and I love feeling like a local despite my white skin. I love that from the house we stay at, we can be in presence of the sun as it rises and as it sets. I love to see the ocean through my window and listen to the birds that fly so free towards the never-ending landscape of the sea. I am grateful for trusting in life and flying to this Earth Element territory, knowing that we are held and guided by the power of creation and with the connection to All-that-is.

I was born here in Colombia, in a small city called Manizales, on the top of the Central Andes Mountains, guardianed by the strength and natural force of an Apu (the name used to call the spirits of the mountains) called Kumanday – a volcano covered with snow that is also one of the main water sources of the earth, called a ‘Paramo’. I love this territory because I trust the power of attraction that allowed me to chose to be born here. I love that I can visit often to visit the great Granfather Apu Kumanday, to give and receive hugs and love from my family and to re-unite with a very dear tribe of friends that have accompanied me throughout my path of spiritual awakening. I will always consider this place my home of origin and I am full of hope that this Fire Element city will continue to unfold beautiful Transition experiences that can serve as example and inspiration for all those who long and work towards our evolution.

I will soon travel to a territory called Minca, in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta – known as the “belly-button of the Earth” where important indigenous wisdom is being carried and transmitted by the elders and tribes that have lived and sustained in life and peace for more than 5 decades. Wind Element in the design of the Multiversidad Mastay, the native permaculture university that moves me and gides me forward. I am grateful for this adventure, walking intrinsically through the dream that I wish to share so others can experience and live a bliss-full conscious path of self-realization.

What made you first think you'd like to be an artist?

Since I was young, I enjoyed (and was very good at) painting, drawing, writing, I also have always loved singing and playing guitar. I remember that the games I played with my brother, with friends of school and with cousins, were preparing and performing dances, doing restaurants and selling lemonade and cakes to the adults, getting dressed up and becoming all kinds of characters (playing to be super-heroes was one of my favorites), camping and surviving the nights in the garden of the house, I loved to do paper dresses for my dolls and for the animals, build film-making machines out of cardboard… and all art-based learn-to-do-it-as-you-do-it experiences that makes us all artists. Throughout my life I've been in touch with spontaneity, manifesting from imagining and dreaming, creating the new each time, many fresh-starts, a spirit of youth, of the ever-new that remains and keeps growing and maturing, the spark that is in continuous big-bang from the inside...

I appreciate I have been asked this question, as sometimes I don’t really consider myself an artist, and forget that I am creating my own reality at each moment with every thought I choose to feed and act from… but I Know that art is a matter of practice just as life is: a matter of practice, of experiencing, of persevering, of rising in love with the eternal moment, the always-happening process of becoming more aware, more engaged, more part-of a bigger Whole, always opened to hope and the multiverse of possibilities of creation.. Nature has been key in all my spiritual births, and the guide that is in full connection with the central heart, guiding us towards the longing to keep Being and Becoming in more beauty, creativity, kindness, transparency… I have been very close to Nature since I was born, I have nothing else but to thank my parents and the countryside ancestors who kept the connection alive and that has lighted the fire of my heart towards my origins and true nature.

Most recently, the arts that I see myself envolved with are weaving (in physical and virtual works), graphic magics, playing music, meditating, cooking, and the art that embraces the whole of my humanity has been birthing and rising my children – coming back to the imagination, learning how to put limits, negotiate, describe the world, answer difficult questions and become my own inner child again fully alive and enthusiastic for the world that is emerging is the best art experience put into action in this life as a Sacred Artivist. Today I can say with confidence that I am an artist with experteese and in constant experimentation of the art of well-being.

Do you think the arts have a role in social activism - and if so, what are they best at?

I think art is expressed in the way we talk, the way we dress, the way we move, the way we think and unfold in this manifested world… "the art of living" is a phrase that rings very true to me as I can imagine art as the tool with which we can polish the jewel of our existence. Art is the expression of our talents, passions, our Ikigai, and it is an ever-ending experience of creation and self-realization of being One consciousness manifesting through many. Social Activism brings me to the personal acknowledgement of the presence of humans that are driven by this force of creation, change and possibilities of the new, choosing to devote themselves towards good and beauty, realizing that there is much in the world that can be better. Understanding that as a specie we have all the tools now to view with an eagle’s eye the landscape of our evolutionary process and learn from the collective pathologies so we don’t keep repeating them again. Many humans devoted to co-create a better humanity and care for each other and for the Earth are sprouting, and I believe every time this happens, is because the spark of our intrinsic artistic power is blossoming from the inside, as we recognize that we are the Creator itself, the Universe being conscious of itself through this human experience, as Eckhart Tolle and many other spiritual leaders say.

Arts in Social Activism or Human Artivism can be parallel to the perspective of evolutionarly spiritual awakening from the lens that I am exploring it today in this writing, and it is the channel through which we can cultivate and co-create a new human culture. Art is a human need for surviving, for relating, for keeping the memories and stories of true values, rituals, recipes and anything that we have accomplished that gives sense to our life and makes it special and inspiring.

What's your attitude to conflict?

I have learned not to avoid conflict, as it is a usual cultural Colombian conditioning.. and also very present in human culture probably, as conflict generates a sense of uncomfortableness, rejection, and many times separation that end up ending human relationships. From what I have learned from conflict, experiencing it can be the possibility for creative friction to arise between two or more people, and the choice for a new and fresh kind of relationship, even with deeper bonds that emerge from a mature conversation between two beings with the agreement to support each other to see the mistakes, the patterns, conditionings and ways of relating that can improve in general with all our relationships, or it can also be a way in which two or more people realize that they can be together from the respect and acceptance of their differences and choose not to have a co-creative or intimate relationship with each other. Conflict can only happen in relationship, so it is courageous to keep exploring the ways into how to transform the nasty feelings and sensations into healthy communication technologies and practices that can help us understand each other better and keep rising together, physically or in heart consciousness, for the good of the Whole.

I am living a situation with the father of my son where I have decided the best for our relationship is to keep a healthy distance, since our visions about life and the ways we choose to relate and act are from different world views, then we cannot choose to have a bond, since there is one for life as we share the responsibility of accompanying Sie to grow and live a beautiful life, but we can choose not to have a relationship and just be in chat dialogue to agree on timings and practical things for his well-being. This may not last forever, but I am also not afraid or feel guilty if it does, because I am at peace with how I have handled the conflict with him and feel together from the source of life that we both are, nevertheless I know that my relationship with him comes also as a teaching for letting go without resentment, and that we chose each other in that particular time for the growth and expansion of the purpose that our souls came to fulfill in this time and space.

Did you come across anything specially interesting and/or useful when you were reading your resources - and if so, what was it?

I found the text on Transforming Conflict very challenging, with big technical words that I couldn’t always follow, but that gave me a sense of the complexity of human relationships that has been brought to scientific studies and that have for sure been object of psychological and psiquiatrical explorations for decades. This sense gives me hope as I believe each time one person breaks-through the limitations of the mind and expands into new conscious possibilities, opens doors for all of us to find that freedom and possibilities as more accessible practical solutions to apply in our daily lives. It made me realize that so many important resources are out there of our own experiences on conflict and conflict resolution, that the snow ball effect is now moving by inertia towards learning from love rather than from suffering or pain.

The resource on facilitation was inspiring as it reminded me that every conversation and interaction with another person or being needs facilitation skills in order to take care of the other and the process that signifies that interaction. We are expected to be born with certain relationship abilities that are not so intrinsic, as we need tools and a deep learning process throughout life in order to understand first, how to relate to one-self, composting everything that has been accumulated from the mis-information we were fed by during our early years by an obsolete school system and politic society based on fear and separation. There is much to un-learn so we can make space for the new and true that is emerging with more strength and certainty in these transformative times, and good facilitators that can transmit this new knowledge is vital for this emerging new world.
What are you happiest about in your designs?I really like the colors, and the fact that a story is being told by a female character – This creative process has accompanied me in a very challenging conflict situation and I once more confirm that art has the potential of expanding consciousness and allowing more space for understanding things from the big picture and as it is a process of time, meditation and integration, it allows to perceive the situations from different perspectives, bringing what we make personal into a more general and collective process of human evolution. I am very grateful also because it was very synchronical the time when I started to do this work, and now that I am finishing the process, and how the situation with Felipe has also evolved. These creations have been a tool for me, in my own conflict transformation process and in the art of facilitating the relationship I have with my self and with this particular person, to rise above anger and injustice, into coherence and hope.

This female character delivers herself to the medicine of silence and stillness, connecting with her heart and all that is around as an anchor to experience heaven on earth and be able to express this self-trust that allows her to transform conflict within herself and others, to then be able to be an inspirational facilitator for a group of people together in circle around a central spiral that portays a common intention and goal. The female energy as vital for highlighting vulnerability, empathy, kindness and the maternal longing of care, all strenghtened by the power of meditation that informs in the facilitation for creativity and conflict transformation.

Where can people see more of your work?

Here, and here:

Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Thank you for valuing graphic magic and the work of people who have enabled themselves through practice (and hopefully connection with the Divine) to explore and manifest in art-form their deep feelings and realizations of Life.

Many thanks!

Part of the Transition movement