25 May 2012

Saltwater Healing - A Myth Memoir

Months have flown by since my last posting on conscious vibration... and during that time, didn't quite get to my leap year dream of writing more on this space. But I have been writing and creating elsewhere...  in other spaces...  and so...  I'm back in the mix and ready to share! 

In March, I was honored and excited to be a part of Transforming Spaces 2012 (Art Tour and Exhibit) in Nassau, The Bahamas, which had a common theme this year of FIBRE. After reading about the theme, I decided to submit my very first attempt at visual art through my literary art work, myth memoir "Saltwater Healing." I spent most of the early spring working on and finishing my piece. And I went home to complete and install it during the first week of March. This was essential since I wanted to use plant materials, sand, straw, and fabric from home to frame and finish my work. I have shared most of these pics on facebook and with friends. But now I am taking some time to share a bit about my vision and process. And to also let my folks know that Saltwater Healing will be turned into a chapbook with Poinciana Paper Press in 2013! Details will soon be announced! And also I also have found a home for Saltwater Healing to be on display for a while. More details soon come!

My vision for this work grew out of all the ways I write and engage with home as a Black mixed-race queer Bahamian woman living abroad. It grew out of troubled women's stories (herstories) too often left out of our "history" books. It grew out of messiness--the stuff we don't often speak about. It grew out of my desire to speak and share hard stories through a more visual medium, using a story telling poetic form and incorporating collage. The pages started with an adult me telling stories and then transformed into a childhood persona re-telling and re-imagining my childhood through the land/seascape and my grandmother's mythic voice. Some pages started with the stories, while others started with photographs and scraps of materials. I went back and forth with inspiration from the materials (seeds, cotton, fabric, plants, straw, photographs, etc) and what stories emerged as I wrote and created each page -- with an interplay between the visual and the text. I used Androsia fabric and straw specifically because of how we use these materials in cultural production and for tourism. And this vision expanded as I worked with the fabric and straw as a reflection of the obvious to tell what is not so obvious -- the hidden from view, the unspoken, the silenced.  

The pieces coming together, working at Popopstudios

The process was an incredible healing journey and the piece transformed each day I was at home in March. I was fortunate to be home during Woman Tongue season -- trees being ripe with pods and the beautiful sounds they make during our Bahamian spring time. This took my project to the healing and mythic space I had envisioned through the stories, and working with the woman tongue seeds and pods captivated me and my poet self. And so the pieces grow from distance and longing in photographs of the first few pages... to a more physical closeness with tactile offerings of the last pages and the entire frame of woman tongue pods and coconut tree branches. I ended the memoir with a kind of opening and circular movement that I hope pulls readers/viewers back into the piece to share in Saltwater Healing.

All together - stories weaved through fibres...

I was thrilled to be included in the co-curated team of artists at The Hub for TS 2012 -- including Angel Aranha, Margot Bethel, Agnieszka Christie, Sonia Farmer, Kachelle Knowles, Gio Swaby, Anna Mascaro, and Shevan Ward. Check out The Hub's photo album on facebook for pics of the whole process, installation, and the opening of the tour! Also, Sonia Farmer has an excellent piece about TS 2012 FIBRE at The Hub on her new blog Poinciana Paper Press!

While I was home for the creating, finishing and installation of my piece, I was able to help for a couple days with preparing The Hub for our show. And while I couldn't physically be there at the opening weekend of Transforming Spaces, I was there in spirit! And really excited to experience it through my friend's stories and photographs. This was a quite a new experience for me -- my treading water into the world of visual art making and production. And I am ready for more! So my artist self is expanding and growing during this Water Dragon Year! 

I plan to continue this work of myth memoir creation through the chapbook, which I plan to include some of my poems and perhaps even more stories. Until then, here are some reflections on my process and the installation.


Saltwater Healing is a literary artwork and myth memoir.
Weaving mythic stories of home and childhood, "Saltwater Healing" uses 
the Bahamian land/seascape to speak of silence and troubled herstories.

Dimensions: 3' x 6' (18 12" x 12" wooden squares)
Materials: paper, wood, photographs, plant materials, cotton, and sand.

I worked on each square individually - with fabric, straw,
plant materials, sand, and cotton interwoven around the collages
- each page with a different stories that weave into each other.

Installing the individual wooden squares...
Almost there!
Working on adding the layers of plant materials...
Check the detail...
Close up shot!
Adding more layers... for the finish and frame:
I framed the entire piece with woman's tongue pods,
coconut branches, sponges, seeds, shells, and other pieces
from the beaches and streets of Nassau.

FIBRE at The Hub!

Completing the installation of my piece,
with an ocean blue wall as the finishing touch... and a bucket of
sea water with rope! Thanks Margot, Kachelle, Sonia, Gio,
Anna, Shavan & the rest of The Hub Artists!!!  
TS 2012 at The Hub - Fierce and Fabulous!
Opening Day of Transforming Spaces!

thank you for being a witness!

with peace, love & conscious vibration...

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