BREATHE HERE : RESPIRA AQUI
Directed by: Mirah Kllc Moriarty and Rodrigo Esteva
Photographer/Videographer: Sebastian Esteva, Latinx youth activist
Breathe Here/ Respira Aqui is a multi-year project addressing the basic needs of affordable homes and land to grow food on, especially live-work spaces for artists and low-income families in the Bay Area. The work speaks to the need for access to spaces for ancestral food cultivation, the continuation of ritual living, sanctuaries of rest, and public spaces that welcome creativity as a catalyst for change. DANCE MONKS created this project in response to the (intimately related) need for public mental health support and resilience training for turbulent times exacerbated by COVID. As part of the project, they are creating an interdisciplinary performance installation of temporary sanctuaries with a film (to be projected onto public buildings) of self-care sequences, including self-acupressure for resilience, emotional balancing, and immune system support. DANCE MONKS is currently offering Breathe Here classes to parents and families who are struggling during COVID as part of their Nature and Arts program and at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets.
DANCE MONKS participated in the Ashby Community Gardens' movement to give #landback to the local indigenous Huchiun Lisjan Ohlone people through the rematriation project of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust: https://www.berkeleyside.org/2022/04/20/ashby-community-garden-sogorea-te-land-trust
DANCE MONKS participated as invited artists in The Civic Arts Commission study on affordable housing for artists in 2021: https://www.berkeleyside.org/2022/02/16/artists-berkeley-affordable-housing-element#
Thanks to Berkeley Civic Arts (2021-2022) for your support.
DANCE MONKS est. 1999, currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area of California in the Xučyun (Huchiun) Lisjan Ohlone lands and in Yucatán, Mexico of the Yucatec Mayans.
“Turn that worthless lawn into a beautiful garden of food whose seeds are stories sown, whose foods are living origins. Grow a garden on the flat roof of your apartment building, raise bees on the roof of your garage, grow onions in the iris bed, plant fruit and nut trees that bear, don't plant 'ornamentals', and for God's sake don't complain about the ripe fruit staining your carpet and your driveway; rip out the carpet, trade food to someone who raises sheep for wool, learn to weave carpets that can be washed, tear out your driveway, plant the nine kinds of sacred berries of your ancestors, raise chickens and feed them from your garden, use your fruit in the grandest of ways, grow grapevines, make dolmas, wine, invite your fascist neighbors over to feast, get to know their ancestral grief that made them prefer a narrow mind, start gardening together, turn both your griefs into food; instead of converting them, convert their garage into a wine, root, honey, and cheese cellar--who knows, peace might break out, but if not you still have all that beautiful food to feed the rest and the sense of humor the Holy gave you to know you're not worthless because you can feed both the people and the Holy with your two little able fists.”
― Martin Prechtel, The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants: Keeping the Seeds Alive