Héctor Aristizabal has been the artistic director of ImaginAction since its foundation in Los Angeles in 2000. He was forced to leave his native Colombia due to death threats for his work in human rights. During his exile he has worked in war zones and post-conflict using theater of the oppressed and other methodologies to explore alternatives to conflict and for the creation of community healing rituals. Héctor combines his training and more than 20 years of experience as a psychotherapist, with his artistic work and activism. In the US he worked with torture survivors, immigrants, gang members, prisoners, people affected by HIV, and with Hospice patients, among other groups. For many years, his work focused on training psychosocial teams in more than 50 countries such as Nepal, India, China, Northern Ireland, Senegal, Ukraine, Croatia, Afghanistan, Guatemala, and especially Syria and Colombia. In 2017 he returned to his native Colombia and with an interdisciplinary team developed Reconectando a project that accompanied the work of The Truth Commission using deep ecology, social theater and healing rituals while working with victims, ex-combatants and others involved in the war.
Now among other projects he is directing Territorio Sagrado an eco-psicosocial project dedicated to the process of reconciliation and dealing with the legacy of the Truth Commission.
Hector was honored with the prestigious Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre and he is co-author with Diane Lefer of The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation.
Here some short videos of his work using theater for reconciliation:
Videos of multiple experiences with RECONECTANDO in different parts of Colombia
ImaginAction in Derry: Creating Community, Facilitating Dialogue, Sustaining Change
Nightwind with Hector Aristizábal, ImaginAction (Filmed in Derry)