Our sign name introductions at the very beginning of the residency acted as more than just a ‘getting to know you’ exercise. They allowed us to create a common language and to peek inside the hearts and minds of those around us, forming a bond or sense of trust among us.
We then looked at one another. In partners. Just looking. Silence. Looking. Really seeing.
From there, we created portraits of ourselves without looking, and gave them a title based on what we saw in the person we drew right there on the page. We then drew portraits of our partners, again without looking, and presented them to our partners. We gave titles to the portraits our partners created, and it was so powerful to feel how someone else sees you – or what they see inside you. I was paired up with Gaele and found that though we were uncomfortable at first, once the giggles subsided, I saw Gaele’s heart by simply looking at her face and all the beautiful details that make it up. It was no surprise to me that the kindness, imagination, and creativity I saw in her face were all uncovered through the remainder of the residency as I saw her contributions to the group.