31 December 2016

Cosmic Evolution - What is your Earthseed Vision of the Future?

This year has been ridiculously intense, hard, and frustrating... but I've managed to do some things -- channeling my rage into creation. I've pushed myself as a writer, poet, and artist -- and this project was visioned, created, and produced all in this year since the summer. In July, I had an amazing week at the VONA/VOICES Writers of Color Workshop - Residency with David Mura. This was life changing for me a writer and it gave me the tools I need to push myself, my craft, my artistic writing self. I am grateful. Out of that powerful experience, I went into another writing retreat with my SPACE crew in Tobago - and Cosmic Evolution was born. I wrote a short story that I then began to vision as a mixed media installation -- and I submitted a proposal to the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas call for their 8th NationalExhibition. I was accepted :) and the piece grew and transformed into what you will see below. 

Close Up of Sculpture - representing Cosmic Evolution

"Cosmic Evolution" is a speculative fiction experience and multimedia installation about how we vision futures for Caribbean and African Diaspora peoples. Inspired by Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower and Caribbean mangroves and sea, I ask what is our Earthseed vision of the future? This artwork is my response and provocation for us to create wildly and boldly. To seriously think about our survival and possible futures given the continued assault on on Black, Brown, Migrant, Same-Sex loving, Queer, and Women's Lives and the earth. The sculpture is a small-scale model of the evolution of our beings and escape to the stars. (I must give a shout out and sincere gratitude to my dearest friend Shalini Seereeram for her help with design and materials for the sculpture. She is boss artist and has design magic!) The rest of installation includes 18 photographs, 11min 11sec video with mangroves and storytelling. My work is inspired by the Mangrove forests of Trinidad and Tobago and created through deep reflection of how we vision our Caribbean futures. I am thrilled to be featured in the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas 8th National Exhibition - OFFSITE at Hillside House. I went home on 16th December to Install the piece and also had the fabulous opportunity to share the work at the opening reception on the 17th and offer a reading/performance. Here are photos and some reflections of the opening and this experience of creating Cosmic Evolution.

PromoBillboard for NE8 featuring one of my photographs (of Tobago Mangrove) from Cosmic Evolution

Angelique V. Nixon | Cosmic Evolution | Artist Statement

“The Destiny of Earthseed is to take Root among the Stars.”
–Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower

Cosmic Evolution is a provocation and speculative fiction experience about how we vision our futures for Caribbean and African diaspora people – Black, Brown, Migrant, Same-Sex Loving, Queer, and Women especially. This vision began with a journey through the Mangrove forests in Tobago and deep reflection on Octavia Butler’s dystopia novel Parable of the Sower (imagining her creation of community survival through Earthseed). It also emerges through the painful social and racial climate we are surviving in the past few years of a so-called post-racial world (and the rise of Black Lives Matter and Migrant Rights movements globally in response to overwhelming violence, fear, and hate). And it comes to life thinking through the backlash against Caribbean feminist and women’s movements for gender and sexual justice and the continued struggles for gender and sexual rights and freedom for Caribbean sexual minorities (LGBTQI) and gender non-conforming people. Cosmic Evolution is about survival and possible futures given the continued assault on Black, Brown, Migrant, Queer, and Women’s lives.  

This mixed media installation shares a future vision of marginalised people evolving and relocating to Space after spending nine years under the mangrove forests of the Caribbean Sea. The future storyteller (griot) explains the process of this cosmic evolution and how people transformed and took flight to the stars, which is made possible through the magical infusion of cultural artifacts, ancestral spirits, earth and sea vibrations, and mangrove swamps. Cosmic Evolution visions a future decolonised, where our minds, bodies, and spirits feel whole; a future unbounded to capitalism, where communities thrive in harmony and healing rooted in love and acceptance; a future where we co-exist with the earth and all living creatures; a future where we are sexually, spiritually, and socially free – with consent at the root and restorative justice the path. To create our own possible Earthseed Future, we must do the work of pulling from the past and present to evolve. This project seeks to ground us back into the earth, sea, and ancestral memory, to reimagine the tools we need in order to create better, possible, and livable futures.

What is your Earthseed Vision of the Future?

Cosmic Evolution - Mixed Media Installation at Hillside House
Close Up of the Sculpture
Video surrounded by Photographs of the Mangroves which inspired my story
I took these photographs of the Mangrove Forests in Trinidad and Tobago.
I worked with NAGB Chief Curator Holly Bynoe to place the photographs and create this collage style effect.
Description of the work to accompany the installation
Promo for the Opening Reception and Reading at Hillside House

Reading at Hillside House for the Opening Reception -- NE8 Offsite.
I offered a Ritual after the reading/performance of my story Cosmic Evolution -- I opened the space with ancestor blessings and acknowledgement of land and people here before us. After storytelling, I shared my manifesto and Earthseed visioning of this new Earth/space and the kind of community I would want to create. I asked participants to join me in visioning of our Caribbean futures. I invited them to write down on pieces of fabric what magical artifacts or objects they would take with them AND/OR what kind of community or new world they would create. Each person left their message near the sculpture. And I gave each person who contributed a seed to keep with them for future visioning. It was a powerful ritual of exchange and visioning for me as an artist. This was my first solo performance art piece and I am forever grateful to the staff and curatorial team at NAGB for this amazing opportunity. I want to especially give thanks to Holly Bynoe for creating spaces and expansive visioning for what art is and how we can engage community. Thank you Holly! 💜

The sculpture with offerings from participants after the ritual
Close up of some of the offerings
Engaging the work - friends and family :)

Another Promo for the Opening featuring one of my photographs of the Tobago Mangrove Forest
Description of NE8
NE8 OFFSite Artists
Grateful for this experience and being able to share my art at home :)
Another view of the photographs and video.

I am also very grateful to be in the region these past few years -- teaching, working, living, and in the struggle for Caribbean freedom. Trinidad and Tobago is an ancestral home for me and is also now feeling completely homespace. I am happy to share my Cosmic Evolution first in my birthplace/home Nassau, Bahamas, but as it was created in and inspired by sweet T&T I will also be sharing it in Trinidad - soon soon!

happy new year blessings & conscious vibes.
may this new year bring renewal & fortitude for continuing struggles & resistance.
choose our weapons wisely. vision boldly & stay rooted. 
conjure freedom tools. be defiant.

peace love blessings in abundance! and more from me in 2017!
Angelique (sistella black)

13 December 2016

Rituals for Healing and Self Care - A Caribbean Feminist Brew

Rituals for Healing and Self Care
A Caribbean Feminist Brew
Conjured by Angelique V. Nixon

for those of us on the frontline,
waging battles, survivors of violence,
for Caribbean women and girls,
for Caribbean people who live and love
outside gender and sexual norms,
(especially lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex,
queer, and gender non-conforming folks)

These past weeks of sharing painful stories, we have broken depths of silence,
Broken, we are not, broke open, we are, not damaged beyond repair,
We are breaking silences with fyah raised fists and voices beaming, 
we listen, we hold, we rage, we bawl, we scream, we remember.
We share our own stories. Sometimes we don’t share. Sometimes we can’t. This is time to bear witness. We share in this unearthing of our stories of sexual abuse, harassment, assault, and violence. We wonder how to move forward. How to escape. How to process. How to cope. How to stop this violence. How to hold each other accountable. How to live and love. How to be whole again. How to heal. 

Krystal Nandini Ghisyawan and I have been asking these questions over the past few years through our co-created art and reflection projects on gender-based violence (GBV) in the Caribbean. This year, we decided to focus on breaking silence and healing. 

For survivors of violence especially women and people who defy sexual and gender norms, I hosted a healing workshop at Wholeness and Justice Counselling Centre in Trinidad on 9 December. I created this workshop to facilitate healing space for those of us most affected by gender based violence. This session focused on women, LGBTQI folks, and gender non-conforming people because we experience the brunt of hetero-patriarchal violence. These forms of violence affect us all but women and sexual minorities experience gender based violence disproportionately. 

As the #LifeinLeggings movement grows across the Caribbean, we must create more spaces for us to find healing. We have opened up wounds, we have shared painful memories, and we are bearing witness to each other’s pain. How do we process these feelings and memories? How do we support and protect each other? How do we channel our anger, pain, rage, and sorrow into creativity, language, and action? How do we manage loved ones reactions, feelings, and pain upon reading our stories? Can we create change and transform our societies, communities, and families? What is possible? Inspired by Audre Lorde's poetry and essays, my workshop seeks to open space and use creativity for healing and transformation. 

I share here on consciousvibration the goals, rituals, and creative exercises I developed to create space for healing and sharing. We had a powerful and hard session on Friday – with nine of us – sharing, writing, creating, and thinking through these questions of how we transform silence into language and action. I will be hosting more of these workshops soon – and some folks in the group want to meet up regularly.  

The Goals of the Workshop: For survivors of gender based violence, to release and find healing through creativity and to transform silence into language and action.

   Defining Self Care:
  • A self-initiated, deliberate act to establish and maintain physical, mental and emotional health.
  • Creating spaces for reflection, healing, community building, and balance. 
Cleansing Healing Breathing Practice
  • To release stress and emotional build up; To cleanse the body and regenerate; To clear the mind - ground and center self.
  • Focus and Pay attention to the breath as a healing practice.
Remember that Healing is a process (day to day practice)
  • Establish daily rituals of self-care: eating well, exercise, meditation, yoga, grounding, nature connection, checking in with loved ones.
  • Relaxing and restorative things you do just for you (time for yourself everyday; writing every morning or before bed; make a healing playlist just for you; etc.)
  • Build a healing altar and/or space for mediation and healing practice. 

Healing Altar built for the workshop on 9 Dec 2016

Writing and Art – Creativity as a Path for Healing (channel rage into creation)

Anger expressed and translated into action in the service of our vision and our future is a liberating and strengthening act of clarification. 
Anger is loaded with information and energy. 
 –Audre Lorde “Uses of Anger”

We have opened up wounds, we have shared painful memories, and we are bearing witness to each others' pain. How do we process these feelings and memories? How do we support and protect each other? How do we channel our anger, pain, rage, and sorrow into creativity, language, and action? How do we manage loved ones reactions, feelings, and pain upon reading our stories? Can we create change and transform our societies, communities, and families? What is possible?

My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.
–Audre Lorde “Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”

As survivors of gender based violence – we often push down the painful memories and this can create a separation of selves – especially if it happened to us as children or teens. We may have split and silenced parts of our selves to survive and cope. Sometimes these are necessary strategies but long term can be damaging. Here are some creative exercises to communicate with your other self or selves built for survival and coping – for healing and transformation.

Creative Exercises as pathways to healing:

1) Stone Reflection (Earth – grounding self)
Pick two stones – one as a reflection of your inner self or child self and the other as the self you project to the world or your adult self. Write about each stone and how they reflect these parts of you. Describe the surface, the edges, the feelings that each stone evokes in you. Let the power of the earth come through the stones. Feel how they ground you. Share your reflection.

2) Love letter or drawing to child-teen-younger self (Air and Water – for healing) 

Use the elements of Air and Water – as a metaphor for channeling messages to your younger self: write a love letter or create a drawing for your younger self. 

For Inspiration -- read my love letter: 

3) "Transforming Silence into Language and Action" (Fire – for regeneration)
And of course I am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger.

 We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of the silence will choke us.

The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break the silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.

– Audre Lorde, “Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”

For Inspiration, watch and listen to my collaborative art project: “Sixteen Days: Art and Reflection Project” and see my art and poetry collection: Saltwater Healing: A Myth Memoir and Poems.

Vision your own transformation piece with FYAH – create, draw, paint, colour, write poetry, or anything you want to make with your hands -- transform feelings, anger, sadness, grief, pain, silence into something new that will incite, will speak, will draw upon your energy and live beyond you.

Healing Art by one of the workshop participants

Closing – circle vibration / conscious vibration  
Give Thanks – ancestors, earth magic, walk with spirit
#Beyond16Days#LifeinLeggings #Caribbeanfeministwork #Catchafyah
13 December 2016 | Full Moon Blessings in Gemini

07 December 2016

Sixteen Days: Art & Reflection on Ending Gender Based Violence

Three Part Series -- Sixteen Days
Art & Reflection on Ending Gender Based Violence

#16Days #endviolence #orangetheworld




Three-part collaborative project of reflections and original artwork produced during the 16 Days of Activism in 2014.

#16Days #Beyond16Days #endviolence

Building upon this work each year, and
using it for my gender based violence healing workshop
in Trinidad, 9 December 2016


After a year hiatus...
more updates on consciousvibration,
soon come...

 peace love & blessings