MOTHER, performance for medium format photography 2018
In collaboration with Alejandro Tarraf
This work is an embodiment of themes emerging from a collective performance and cultural exchange around the theme of ‘mother’, with Xenia - a group of migrant and English speaking women, during our project BearMotherHouse 2017. During the collective ceremony we formed an object between us, which was collectively named ‘the mother’.
This durational performance work re-positions the way we speak of grief, care and the archetype of the great mother.
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.
What you see here was unknown at the beginning. The Mother came to 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. 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 indiginous 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
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