Taey Iohe

Becoming Forest 

Solidarity practice of Healing (2020-2022, Collective work as Breakwater) 

Becoming Forest is the community-oriented healing project focusing on mental health issues accelerated by Covid-19. Drawing upon Franz Fanon’s seminal observation on the relationship between colonial oppression/violence and mental illness, Becoming Forest conceptualises collective healing as performing justice. It aims to build the solidarity circle of care specifically for Southeast and East Asian (SEA) refugees and precarious migrants.

In our approach to articulating collective healing as migrant justice practice, our participatory process tests out the concept of ‘folk healer’, which respects and speaks through the participants’ cultural common grounds and weighs on equally both verbal and nonverbal communications. The folk healing approach counters the limitations of western psychotherapy based on individualised pathologisation and patient-healer binary. Becoming Forest sees collective healing of mental health issues as a slow, empathetic and ecological process, positioning nature and time as key healers and composed of a series of seasonal forest walks and creative workshops over digital spaces.

Project partner Southeast and East Asian Centre, Kanlungan
Supported by a-n, Arts Council England, Arts Catalyst