El Colectivo Macondo in Mexico City: Multimodal Expressive Arts and a Transformational Experience

This summer, El Colectivo Macondo Expressive Arts Institute offered its first Multimodal Expressive Arts Workshop in Mexico City. We were a group of 13 students and teachers with roots in Mexico, El Salvador, and many regions of the United States. Our interest areas included Drama Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Musical Improv, Traditional Popular Arts, and Community and Liberation Psychology.

            Our teacher Jesus Pastor taught us about traditional Mexican Popular Art practices that have an Expressive component. For example, Papel Picado, the Mexican Popular Art Practice by which complex designs are cut into tissue paper was originally a Shamanic meditative practice through which the practitioner cut designs into traditional Amate (bark) paper while praying to help a family with a problem and bring everything into balance. We learned that we may offer this practice to our clients, giving them the opportunity to cut a design into paper with an intention and a meditative attitude and also to experience the surprise as the paper is unfolded.

Traditional Shamanic Papel Picado: Museo del Arte Popular, Coyoacan, Mexico
Traditional Shamanic Papel Picado: Museo del Arte Popular, Coyoacan, Mexico
Making Papel Picado
Making Papel Picado

Throughout our time together, we worked Multimodally, moving from one process to another and offering reflections in writing, movement, theatrical improvisation, dreamwork, and words.

Fridas and Diego - Theatrical Improvistaion
Fridas and Diego – Theatrical Improvistaion

We communicated with each other in both English and Spanish during our time together.

We visited the ritual spaces of Casa Azul,  Frida Kahlo’s home/studio, the sacred ruins of Teotihuacan, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the recreated tombs in the Museum of Anthropology. These experiences provided inspiration for our Expressive work with varied materials and processes.

I feel that we have formed lasting friendships and we look forward to our next workshop in Mexico June 20-30  of 2016 in Guanajuato State. Visit El Colectivo Macondo’s website for more information. 

Here we are, doing the  “Machine” improv exercise:


Please see our website: www.elcolectivo.diasporacitizen.com for information on our projects and our new bilingual (English and Spanish) Multimodal Expressive Arts Certificate program.

Wendy Phillips, Ph.D., LMFT, REACE, 

IEATA Registered Expressive Arts Consultant Educator

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>