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The artist is her act


Dr. Francesca Scafuto is an artist, a researcher and a psychotherapist. She is currently a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Her emerging practice involves the intersection of mindfulness, ecological awareness, and art methods.

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Name : Francesca Scafuto
Phone : +1 201 786 3607
Email : fscafuto@ramapo.edu
Address : 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah, NJ, United States 07430

Art Work

In art, I express the diversity of my experiences and the contexts that have left a trace on me. I express my frantic search for synthesis, the need to overcome polarities, such as emptiness and fullness, nature and culture, individual and environment, self and community, mind and body, spirit and matter. I express the need to feel, perceive, and portray one's human existential condition through art that uses the image of a body. Our body is the first “great stranger”: it is simultaneously social and the natural body of Gaia, the name given by the ancient Greeks to Earth.
My brush strokes blend the human body with the surroundings, meshing the inner turbulences with the landscapes in an attempt to resolve the conflict of the dualities.

Art for me

My artistic research portrays a dialogue between internal and external worlds, where originality is given by bringing together harmony and signification to respond to one's interior need.

"Art moved by a profoundly interior need," Kandjinsky said in the search for a universal inner symbolism that allows us to go beyond the appearances of reality, the idols of materialism and rationalism, to "speak of mystery through mystery". Art as an activator of a power of the unconscious that comes to man and woman as the metaphysical painters showed, through intuition and the analogical language of free associations. It expresses our own way, specific and unique, to be in the world towards the truth of a more authentic and profound self, unmasking and "playing" with the egoic dimensions of the Person.

Art seen as genesis, creation, not as a return to primitive, to pre-verbal, to undifferentiation, but as going further, passing and using experience to integrate immanence and transcendence, bringing assimilation of the opposites. Its derivative is the symbol, rather than the "symptom", that is the reconciliation of the dualities. Duality as the principle of existence, which in art is understood as complementary rather than as dichotomies, antagonistic and conflicting forces.

Art is a process that is embodied in imaginative products which are in themselves images but are already actions. In my opinion, the product and the process go hand in hand: I attribute importance to the quality of the experience, in many cases, curative of the artistic process but also to the quality and aesthetics of the resulting product.

Therefore, art is not only an instrument, but a drive, a daemon that manifests itself in the need for alchemical transformation of the being, learning from experience and regeneration of the world as it is seen, perceived and created by the artist. Art does not need utilitarian reasons to be, because it is in itself revelation and evolution of human potential.

Art also means to me a space of participation in which the spectator is involved. It cannot be a truly transformative process if it does not have the potential for identification and projection of the one to whom it is addressed. In other words, art is a two-way communication where there is space left for the wandering, the imagination and the feelings of the spectator.

So too conceptual an art abstracts and moves away from its audience, enclosing itself in a speculative action of the rational mind which does not leave space and air for an intimate dialogue, necessary for transformation. In the same way an art very technically packaged but easily intelligible to its spectators, can be too immediate and saturate every space of imagination of those experiencing it.

In sum, art can be seen as a continuous research of synthesis and harmonic evolution of experiences where every true artist is in itself a researcher, and only a true researcher is an artist.

Training and Exhibition

A list of my training and exhibitons as a painter.

  • Veritas Feminae Exhibition 2016

    Villa d'Este - Cernobbio, Italy


    Voluptuousness

    The body overflows to search for a fullness.
    Oh sensual fight! You taste of beauty.

    (click to see full booklet. page 51)

    exhibiton booklet picture
  • Training


    2019 | Anatomy and Life Drawing and Painting | School of Contemporary Arts, Ramapo College, US | Instructor: Jacqueline Skrzynski | Draw from the nude, studies in gestures, composition, abstracting the figure and drapery


    2013-2016 | Still Life Drawing, Painting from Author References | Atelier Nerodimarte, Napoli | Instructor: Domenica Piccolo


    2009-2012 | Still Life Drawing, Painting from Author References | Studio Pisacane, Napoli | Instructor: Fernando Pisacane


    2003-2004 | The Study of the Nude | Academy of Fine Arts, Napoli | Instructor: Mario Punzo

Employement

As an artist, psychotherapist and community psychologist, I prefer to say that my job is discovering human potential, supporting it in the process of liberation through awareness of patterns and scripts that can consume the spontaneity of relationships. Each of us is a set of information, our consciousness stems from connection with other intelligences. The more we develop connections, the more our consciousness becomes global, informed, and increasingly able to respond in a unique way to the environment and to create new solutions and interaction strategies. The basis of art as a cure is being more in touch with our “true self” in an ever more authentic way and developing what is a natural tendency to beauty, harmony, enchantment. It also involves overcoming blockages and constraints of personality and social systems. For years, I have been painting and integrating several visual and performance tools in working with communities, groups and individuals.

From this point of view, the psychological disorders of the individuals and the society are obstacles to creativity because they are rigid shapes which encase our authentic self. My training and experience as a psychotherapist led me to promote self-awareness that comes from knowledge (not only cognitive, but primarily emotional and experiential based). Individual disharmonies reflect the disharmony of society, of conventions, limits and habits imposed on our language, our mindset and our lifestyle. These are increasingly disconnected from nature, from the awareness of the consequences of our choices on our environment. My experience as community psychologist and researcher brought me to the realization that integrating the individual with the collective is more effective to amplify creative potential and personal growth. This type of approach aims to re-establish within the individual connections between his body sensations, emotions and thoughts. It also establishes a connection between the individual and the global self, that implies a more intricate relationship with nature and a sense of global community.

In this view, mindfulness, defined not only as a technique but as a state of mind, is essential both in a psychosocial intervention and in an artistic performance. In order to be more effective, any transformative action requires an attitude of presence, fullness of the self or even emptiness, depending on how you look at it. From this space/state, deep listening can come out beyond our judgment and we can learn to stay with what is “here and now”, finding more authentic ways of “being with”. This can lead to the inception of creative ways to express ourselves and find solutions to individual and collective problems.


  • 2018 - 2019

    Fulbright Scholar

    Ramapo College, New Jersey, US


    • Lecturer for the following courses: Introduction to Psychology, Empowering individuals and Communities: lessons from Europe and Environment.
    • Action researcher for the program “GAIA education”
    • Researcher for the project "What drives a sense of global community"

  • 2012 - 2018

    Community Psychologist

    Benevolo-Goldstein Architecture Office-Urban planning team


    Project designer, coordinator and facilitator making use of several artistic methods and instruments for project planning for public participation in developing an Urban general Plan for Bacoli (Napoli), S. Anastasia (Napoli); Casoria (Napoli), Anagni (Rome), Tricase (Lecce) - Italy.

  • 2006 - 2009

    School Community Psychologist

    S.M.S. School “P.Giannone”, Caserta


    • Design and management of the project, “Metamorphosis of adolescents: how to manage the change.” Involved individual counseling, teacher and student group counseling, training for teachers and parents and writing the blog, “Talk with a Psychologist.”
    • Completion of the project, “Live the conflicts: bullying prevention through peer mediation method,” funded by the Campania region for the Open Schools Program.

  • 2009 - 2015

    Phd Scholar, Lecturer and Community Psychology Expert

    University of Napoli “Federico II”


    • Lecturer of “Social Psychology” and “Community Psychology”- supplementary teaching
    • Member of the exams commission
    • Researcher in the project “Psychosocial determinants of participation” at University of Brighton (England)
    • Researcher for an action research project,”Psychosocial determinants of protest against landfills and waste fires”. This project was carried out for Ph.D. thesis.
    • Researcher for the research "What drives critical consumption”
    • Coordinator of action research in the town of Portici (Napoli) - “A cooperative inquiry to analyze community needs”

  • May 2017

    Workshop Trainer

    Imago-School of Psychotherapy in Analytic Psychodrama


    Trainer of workshops about “Art as cure” using painting, Image theatre, mindfulness as tools of community wellbeing

  • 2012 - 2017

    Training Area Manager

    CSV Asso.Vo.Ce., Caserta, IT


    • Project planning, management and fundraising, training group facilitation.
    • Local social worker for the project “Observatory of camorra confiscated goods.”
    • Trainer of social project designing and planning; and facilitator for team building with CSV employees

  • 2017

    Project designer and manager for not-for-profit organizations

    Not-for-profit Organization Koinokalo-Il Movimento dei cittadini, Portici (Napoli), Italy


    Project designer, coordinator and facilitator of research-action project “Youth and urban planning: how active citizenship works,” a project funded by the Italian Ministry for Work and Social Policy. The project successfully engaged secondary school students in planning for urban regeneration using such instruments as community maps and participative theatre.

Skills

The percent represents what percent of my adult life I have done this for.

Painting
Training and Group Facilitation
Project Design

Education

Knowledge is power. These are the places I gained my formal knowledge from.

  • 2009 - 2012

    PhD in Health Psychology & Social and Individual Risk Prevention

    University of Napoli “Federico II”


    • Qualitative and quantitative methods of research, paradigms and action research.
    • Thesis “Psychosocial determinants of protest against landfills and waste fires” with European label in Community Psychology.

  • 2005 - 2010

    Psychotherapist

    SPAD, Rome


    Development Psychology and infant observation, Theories of Psychoanalysis, Diagnosis, Psychotherapy, Psychopathology, Psychodrama, Supervision of psychotherapy and counseling cases.

  • 2016

    European project designer and member of EUPF

    Europa Cube Innovation Businnes School, Napoli


    PCM (project cycle management) and GOPP (Goal oriented project planning) methods, logical framework, main European programs; project work for application to the program “Europe for citizens”.

  • 1998 - 2003

    Academic Degree in Clinical and Community Psychology

    Second University of Studies of Napoli, Caserta


    • Degree with 110 with honors (the equivalent to a 1st in the UK).
    • Thesis “The clinical analysis of borderline patient through an integrative approach between cognitive and psychoanalytic views”.