The Contemporary Artist as Shaman

Presented by Denita Benyshek.

When 82 year old anthropologist, Dr. Ruth-Inge Heinze, taught her last seminar on shamanism at Saybrook Graduate School, Denita Benyshek was among her fortunate students. Knowledge, conveyed through lectures and through a series of visions, revealed many similarities between shamans and artists. Using Dr. Heinze’s definition of a shaman, Denita will demonstrate how artists may qualify as shamans. The discussion is grounded in over three decades of experience as a professional artist, which provides autobiographical evidence of shamanic experiences during artistic creativity. Research, from psychology, anthropology, sociology, creative studies, art history, and religious studies, is also considered towards constructing an interdisciplinary and multicultural theory of the artist as shaman. Topics will include calling, initiation, androgyny, shamanic journey, healing, integration, and an alternate, nonpathological, model of artistic creativity.

















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