#VulnerabilityVigil in Vancouver
With Tasha Diamant and Emma Cooper
Friday, April 17
Robson St side of the Vancouver Art Gallery
Facebook event link
Plus two Earth Day Vigils
Wednesday, April 22
with Tasha Diamant in Victoria, Corner of Government and Belleville
with Emma Cooper in Vancouver, Robson St side of the Vancouver Art Gallery
Facebook event link
All welcome, as dressed as you want to be.
For more information about #VulnerabilityVigils here is an explanation.
Also, Robyn Thomas wrote a great piece about the Human Body Project and #VulnerabilityVigils in the Royal Roads student online magazine, The Royal. It's linked and reposted with permission below:
Naked Strength at the Vulnerability Vigils
by Robyn Thomas
Many people have sheet-thrashing nightmares about being naked in public.
Tasha Diamant doesn’t enjoy it, yet today she stands naked on Government Street in the January rain. Passersby turn to each other and giggle as they pass. She dons nothing but a scarf, toque, and pink mittens while holding up a sign with another participant who shivers barelegged beside her.
January 24, 2015 marked Tasha’s third anniversary of holding Vulnerability Vigils in downtown Victoria. For at least one day a month she stands naked in public for one hour and invites anyone to join her — an act she says she is committed to doing for the rest of her life.
“I realize that nakedness in our culture is very confrontational, so that’s why we use a sign,” said Tasha, as she shifted from one foot to the other to stay warm. “This symbol is the extinction symbol, so you could parallel the vulnerability of the body to the vulnerability of humanity and the planet.”
Keith Jenkins, who has participated alongside Tasha for years, helped hold up the sign with a playful spark in his eye. Despite police harassment at the Vigils, he remains undeterred.
|Keith Jenkins and Tasha Diamant with the extinction symbol.|
The Vigils are an extension of The Human Body Project, which Tasha founded and performed at Fringe Festivals by showing up onstage naked and unscripted. One intention behind the Vigils is to have open and honest conversations with the public.
“People need to open up more,” said Aneal, a young man observing the Vigil. “Especially among the male gender, there’s a lot of ‘I gotta be a tough guy’ all the time and that’s so damaging to everyone. I’m a human being. I have a heart; I’ve got emotions. So does every dude who’s pretending that he doesn’t. He’s destroying himself if he thinks he can deny that aspect of himself.”
Just before their hour was up, a homeless man approached Tasha and Keith and lifted the sign to check if they were really naked. Tasha burst into laughter and shook his hand. He opened up about his ten years on the street, his battle with a Hepatitis C diagnosis, and how he remains optimistic through it all. Tasha told him she thinks he is strong and vulnerable — a combination most are not used to hearing in a society that views vulnerability as a weakness.
“I’m not very good at being vulnerable. I’m quite a defended, prickly person,” admitted Tasha. “Now Keith is much better at it. He’s able to live in the world in a much more open way.”
Tasha’s work has sparked a following in Vancouver, where Emma Cooper began hosting Vigils at the Vancouver Art Gallery in November. She believes the beauty of the Vigils is that people take away whatever they need from them, as opposed to approaches that shove solutions down people’s throats.
“It’s important that it’s widely open to interpretation, because then the onus is on people to solve it for themselves.”
Transitioning into motherhood pushed Tasha to begin the project. Witnessing the vulnerability of her children increased her awareness of the fragile state of the planet and her own responsibility.
“I totally freak out before I do this every time,” she said, “but I do this because of the urgency of the current global situation. Sometimes I say it keeps me alive to do this, because otherwise I’m just so in despair. So, it’s like an act.”
Beyond her activism, Tasha is an artist, university professor, researcher, and a mother of two. She says that even those close to her often reject her Vigils.
“I feel really embarrassed that I’m taking my clothes off in front of people but… oh well. Some things are more important than personal embarrassment.”
Some observers of the Vigils will leave confused, others embarrassed, and possibly even offended. But for one hour of every month there is a tiny rip in the fabric of society that allows people to let down their guard and recognize our shared humanity.