Take a deeper dive into the underlying creative and philosophical values being developed by SAO
Timeless wisdom can be accessed now through the expression of tones, sounds, movements and practices that have ancient origins. By generating authentic platforms for the synthesized expression of both ancient and contemporary creative practices we activate that aspect within us that knows, and has always known, there is more to life than meets the eye. There are inner worlds that must be acknowledged and dreams that must be expressed, manifested. Part of the great tension of our world is the suppression of these energies. Part of our great transformation will be finding healthy ways to express these energies. Suppression equates to a form of suffering, whether it be acute depression & anxiety or merely lethargy, cynicism, apathy or a feeling that the changes we want to see, feel and experience in the world are too big or overwhelming to contemplate. There is a way, however, to shift energies and ignite new perspectives—by creating within yourself that which you wish to experience outside yourself; joy, love, freedom, peace, excitement, positivity and purpose. These are the hallmarks of creative flow and this flow is something everyone can experience, no matter what your artistic skill level or experience in a given artform may be.
Too often we are taught to express in culturally narrow, creatively limited and highly controlled ways. We have all had experiences creating as children when we were told that’s not the right way to do it, even when it felt right and natural for us. This is how expression and creativity are stifled, potentialities restricted and mindsets closed. The teaching artists who are the life-blood of our organisation have all worked through these experiences and developed the resilience, openness, empathy and capacity to support others to express in natural, authentic and liberating ways.
PhD research conducted by SAO co-founder Dr Anthony Garcia at the University of Tasmania between 2011-2015 laid the foundation for an approach to creative practice that would, over many years, evolve into the SAO philosophy of practice. This philosophy is not a system of thinking or dialectic debate or dialogue as is common in the Western philosophical tradition, though beautiful thoughts, creative ideas, reflections and discussions are part of the process. Rather, the philosophy emerges through the act of expression itself—through the physical manifestation of creativity—singing, making music, dancing, feeling, meditating. And yes meditation is a creative act because you change in palpable, noticeable ways and creativity is the art of change. Through creative expression, guided by expert teaching artists the collective can fine tune attention and focus, activate relaxation and body awareness allowing the heart and mind to balance. This balance opens up a stream of energy that supports inner awareness and understanding. From this place, knowledge emerges in myriad ways but particularly through an embodied wisdom—an inner feeling of freedom and wellbeing. Knowledge of the self and a sensate awareness of the foundational values and principles that support a healthy and flourishing life as an individual and collectively.
These concepts have not emerged purely through reading or traditional learning methods. They have emerged spontaneously, over time, through experimental programming that fosters the kind of improvisatory expression that manifests original thinking, numinous experience and intuitive insight. The vision developed through these creative experiences generates an intuition that propels us forward toward an unknown destination—a future yet conceived of but one we sense and trust is more balanced, harmonised, expressive, healthy, supportive, creative and alive. This is the artists journey. It can at times be a painful and challenging journey. Many suffer deeply for their choice to live a creative, artistic life. But ironically, many who choose not to, also suffer deeply by disconnecting from the creative life forces that needs to be released and expressed.
Seeing the irony allows us to sense the opportunity and seize the day. Economically and materially focused people need healing as much as artistically minded people do. There is a way overdue collaborative model just waiting to be activated through innovative arts programming that brings diverse people together to share ideas, support one another and create new cultural stories of us. The model is one where economic value and artistic value are understood to be two sides of the same coin—two distinct energies that need to synthesise to support a holistic wellbeing that all people benefit from.