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Hector Aristizábal – ImaginAction.org
Hector Aristizbal

Hector Aristizábal

Hector was born and raised in Medellín, Colombia when it was the most dangerous city in the world. He worked his way out of poverty to become a theatre artist and pioneering psychologist with a Masters degree from Antioquia University, then survived civil war, arrest and torture at the hands of the US-supported military. In 1989, violence and death threats forced him to leave his homeland. In exile, Hector struggled to overcome his rage and desire for vengeance and to channel these energies instead into constructive social action.

Since arriving in the US, he has won acclaim and awards as an artist and also received a second Masters degree, in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pacific Oaks College, leading him to combine his training in psychology and the arts with lessons gained from life experience in his therapeutic work with torture and trauma survivors, incarcerated youth, immigrant families, and people affected by HIV/AIDS. As an activist, he uses theatrical performance as part of the movement to end torture and to change US policy in Latin America.

In 2000 he founded ImaginAction to help people tap the transformative power of theater in programs throughout the US, Latin America, Europe and around the world, as far afield as Afghanistan, India, Senegal, South Africa, Guatemala and Palestine, for community building and reconciliation, strategizing, and individual healing and liberation. Through experiential workshops, theater performances and other creative events, ImaginAction invites participants to explore embodied knowledge, challenge the inevitability of violence, and use their imaginations for a more just and joyous life for all people.

After living in exile for half of his life in 2018 Hector returned to his home land to dedicate his efforts to the current peace process. He is part of the team of Reconectando a project that combines deep ecology, social theater and healing rituals to accompany the work of the Truth Commission in Colombia.

He also cofounded Dreaming Action dedicated to creating bridges between the best practices from both the organizational and the social worlds.

In 2012, Hector was honored with the prestigious Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre.  The Otto Awards were established in 1998 to recognize and support the ongoing development of political theatre internationally.

Among many other articles and interviews, he is co-author of The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation. 

Contact: haristizabal60@gmail.

Skype: imaginehector