THE MOTHER - AN AFTERBIRTH 2019
Performance and installation
A grief ritual to societies lost connection to the divine mother
The Great Mother filtrates through our human and non-human connections, transcending cultures and gender. This archetype has through a build up of ideological expectations become a somewhat ‘lost experience’ and the need for tuning into her transformative essence has become essential in today’s societal currents. The Mother - The afterbirth is an inner act, born through both women and men connecting to the personal and transpersonal grief of this experience. Transforming this grief as a collective body enables us to enter a place of deep care and intimate listening. It is this deep listening which connects us to her essence, her whispers which remains in the undercurrents of our collective subcouncious.
To birth a creative work, is to birth a collective substance, a materialisation of an inner world, it is the alchemy of the invisible substance transformed by the hand into visible substance. Laboured over and cared for, through traces of material, dust, bowls of wax, fire, ash, clay, held by a community, sung to, moved around. Immersed in a village scale. To birth a creative work is inherently a social practice and what is left in material form is all but a fragment of the processes that came before.
The object of the Mother used in the performance came into manifestation through a silent material ceremony that took place between 15 women from Xenia, a group
of migrant and english speaking women that we worked with in 2017 through a commission with SPACE. The silent gathering began around a black piece of felt, we had a fire that melted wax and fragments of materials that the women had symbolic connection with. The women slowly began creating a constellation and a moving mantra of stones, butter, garlic, shells and rope, whilst chanting in their indigenous languages, words of deep remembrance. Through this improvised shared ritual, the Mother was formed. After several hours of process and shared labours we gathered around her, moved, in hands and some in tears. One woman spoke that the process was like a funeral and a birth, it was necessary to bury our conceptions of motherhood in order to birth new life into the idea of the divine, limitless, transformative power of the archetypal mother.
In homage to the energy exchanged that day we have re-performed a series of processes in the landscape with the mother for medium format film. Carrying her with care, we journeyed with the energy, through wild foliage, rocks, rivers and mud where we imbued her with the messages of nature. This process created a reunion with the spirit between the human soul and the ancient song of nature. Summoning in our performances a connection to the symbolism that was exchanged that day during the shared birth, a reunion and recognition of ‘a grief ritual’ rooted in love cyclical destiny.These journeys have honoured the archetypal experience of the great mother that lives within us all, across time and cultural distinction. A process that brings us closer to the cycle of the divine mother.
“She was born in a cave, she returned to the cave where she was born” - shared mantra created between women”, BearMotherHouse 2017