Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Mindful Meditation Led by Libni López at AMAM

Photo courtesy of Gabriel Orozco
Mindful Meditation aims to look at mental health through art.

As fall begins, Libni López, a therapist with Authentically You Therapy, is partnering with Curator Jill Greenwood and Curatorial Assistant Ellis Lane at the Allen Memorial Art Museum to begin the third year of their collaborative series Mindful Meditation. This four-part series will combine art analysis with a mental health focus. 

Greenwood will be leading a discussion centered around a work of art on display at the museum and López will lead a corresponding meditation. López has been a practicing therapist since 2011. Since then, his focus has shifted to working with members of the LGBTQ community, adults living with HIV, and trans and nonbinary individuals. In 2019, he partnered with the AMAM to provide “Mindful Meditation” to the community. To adhere to COVID-19 regulations, Mindful Meditation was transferred to Zoom to allow for a more accessible experience, providing a safe and peaceful environment. Despite the transition, attendance persisted. 

“We need to … provide spaces like this, in particular, during a very stressful and uncertain time,” López said. “And ever since we started, it’s been very well attended.”

Despite the artistic theme of “Mindful Meditation,” López admitted his unfamiliarity with the world of visual art. 

“This is something that I was really nervous about initially,” López said. “I don’t see myself as very art-inclined. I don’t really have much background or experience. I didn’t grow up going to museums, I don’t really know much of art. So it’s not just me moderating it, but it’s also me learning about art and integrating it into the meditation. [Greenwood and Lane] usually share with me the pieces that they feel might be good to use in the meditations. They’re always very inclusive and make sure that I’m familiar with where pieces might be coming out and giving me a choice.”

The series kicked off this Thursday with a session featuring the print “Pelota en el agua (Ball on Water)” by Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco. López emphasizes the importance of exploring the art and experiences from many different cultural backgrounds.

“I think it’s very important to highlight different backgrounds so that we don’t become monotonous, that we provide some variety, some diversity,” López said. “And [Greenwood], again, has been very intentional in the pieces that she picked, including the one that we’re doing this coming Thursday.”

In addition to Orozco, this semester’s selection of artists features British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové, Australian Aboriginal artist Jimmy Moduk, and American embroiderist Anna Von Mertens. López feels particularly connected to this week’s piece. 

“The actual piece of art resembles a very important part right now — this month for me — because for a lot of Latin America, it’s Independence Day, maybe not the exact same date, but along the span of September,” López said. “And so it definitely feels like it’s intentionally including pieces, like, that highlight a lot of diversity, a lot of background.” 

Sept. 15–Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. It is rooted in the anniversaries of the hard-earned independence that many Latin American countries gained from colonial Spain on or near September 15. The celebration focuses on honoring and engaging with the cultures and contributions of many Latin-American people in various fields. López is himself bilingual and  has a history of supporting undocumented or DACAmented youth through speaking at local protests and through volunteering at local nonprofits and community groups.

López emphasized that in addition to not needing any background in art, students don’t need to be familiar with meditation. 

“Students don’t have to have any experience or background in meditation,” López said. “This space, I’m hoping, is for everyone. They can feel safe. They can feel affirmed and seen.”

The next session will be held Oct. 26 and will center around Zak Ové’s “Giovanni’s Room,” which features vintage European crochet doilies alongside custom ones made by Syrian refugees and a title borrowed from the James Baldwin novel. It is a selection from the series The Evidence of Things Not Seen, which serves as an homage to Baldwin. Ové has become renowned for diverse mediums such as photography, film, and sculpture. The use of found objects and African/Caribbean aesthetics plays a big role in his art and in his personal connection to his Trinidadian roots.

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