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Wonders of the lizard tail

Posted by Hiromi Tango

Hello Derby,

Wonders of the lizard tail

I am very pleased to be joining you to create a collaborative community project together. In thinking about what we might make together, I began to think about the magic of the lizard and its tail, how it can one moment be dancing and weaving as the lizard moves, but also how the lizard can drop its tail when threatened and grow a new one. Later, when danger has passed, the lizard will sometimes return to eat the discarded tail, as sustenance before growing a new tail. The lizard’s tail for me is a powerful symbol of nature’s ability to protect, nurture and regenerate.

What does the lizard and its magical tail mean for you? There are many examples in nature of resiliency and protection. Dr Patricia Jungfer, Consultant Psychiatrist, writes about how the lizard and its cycle can mirror the process of regeneration that can occur through self-expression and self-reflection. She further explains about the brain’s amazing capacity for creating new connections that can help us recover from both physical and emotional injury. The phenomenon of neuroplasticity can be likened to the lizard’s amazing ability to regenerate its tail. This is what Dr Jungfer has said of my community project work before:

"The work of Hiromi Tango through its rich sensory input contextualises the community experience via meaningful artist activity and hopefully facilitates via neuro plasticity, emotional growth and development.

"All mental processes, even the most complex ones such as creating works of literature, music and art, derive from the operation of the brain. Underlying these complex behaviours are genes and their proteins which result from the genetic expression. These in turn determine the pattern of connections between neurons in the brain and how those interconnections function. Behaviour and social actions, such as the practice of arts, exerts an effect on the brain and will induce altered gene expression. This alteration of gene expression will give rise to changes in neuronal connections as a consequence of underlying brain plasticity. 

"The art practice of Hiromi Tango reflects her belief in the protective, cathartic and reparative aspects of art. The work not only comprises of delicate armatures of woven thread and cloth but also a mirror which references the mirroring process that may occur in a therapeutic engagement. The use of colour, weaving, fabric, fibre and the placement of treasured objects of the participants within the work, is enhanced by encouraging community participation and performance art. Colour and texture evokes affectively laden memories. The purposeful art making provides a here and now opportunity to express, understand and integrate emotions potentially providing a healing and emotively integrative process.

"A key element in her art practice is the utilisation of textile and fibre which is wound repetitively, containing and shaping both fibre and fabric. In the creation of the project Hiromi encourages the incorporation of textile, thread and objects that have symbolic significance for members of the community into the Lizard Tail. This provides an enriched sensory experience that can provide relief through the expression of emotions and a corrective emotional experience which ultimately is manifest by our neural plasticity as a healthier expression of the self."

Each of us brings different ideas and experiences to a collaborative community project. I am looking forward to learning more about each of you as we work together to create a beautiful lizard’s tail for Derby. Each collaborative community work embodies the unique stories and aesthetics of the people who participate, and I am looking forward to weaving Lizard Magic with you!

I am at the Scout Hall on Clarendon Street in Derby from now until 3 October. Click here for times. Hope to see you all there.


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