I am honored to be one of the three artists chosen for the Art Crawl Harlem Boundaries and Connections artist in Residence exhibition. Please follow the link to read about the 2 other artists in residence.
CLICK HERE TO SEE A VISUAL REPRESENTATION IN THE FORM OF A SLIDE SHOW CREATED BY PHOTOGRAPHER PARRIS
CLICK HERE SACRED SPACE SLIDE SHOW
Photo: Parris Whittingham (for Facebook and web use).
Photo: @parriswithlove (for Instagram)
The Sacred Space
I chose to do something that is unique and different and appropriate for the turbulent times we are living in today. The Sacred Space is an interactive space designed on the porch of the artist in residence house for Art Crawl Harlem. The houses were occupied at one time by officers and their families in the US military but now function as community of artists where creativity can flow easily on this isolated island far from the pandemic crowd of Manhattan. The atmosphere is tranquil and serene and the landscape is lush and beautiful.
The sacred space is an interactive room created on the spacious porch of the house. The East river is visible form the porch which is perfect as many rituals use the life-giving properties of water as an integral part of ceremonies practiced all over the Globe. Water is also the way in which our African ancestors were enslaved and forced to travel on ships to America and other locations. The gentle breezes flow throughout the sacred space. Fresh air that is essential to maintain life itself.
The first thing we experience when we are born is the breath and the last thing before we die and leave our physical bodies.
My inspiration for creating this space is drawn directly from my travels and participation in many rituals used for healing. As a cultural enthusiast and urban Nganga (The Bantu term for herbalist, reader or spiritual healer in many African societies and in other societies of the African diaspora such as those in Haiti, Brazil and Cuba) Visitors received a cleansing of the aura – sometimes known as the quantum field or electromagnetic field surrounding our bodies. This field is cleansed by eliminating negative thoughts and a physical sweeping of the personal aura with crystals , feathers and burning sage .
*MAAFA libation ceremonies in New York and New Orleans.
*African Siddi dance and puja water rituals in India,
* Ayawaska rituals in Peru for spiritual awakening
* Santeria cleansing rituals by *Afro Cuban santeros in Cuba.
*Pow wows by Americas First Nation pow wow ritual dance –
commonly but incorrectly known as Native American Indians.
*Voodoo from Haiti and New Orleans.
I created this sacred space by combining these energies together to allow the ancient forces to blend as one.
An African ancestral altar is the center and foundation of the room.
Elements include tapestry and fabric from the locations mentioned, to represent cultural creativity color and texture. Incense, water, sea shells, rocks and wood to represent the 5 elements of life-Air, Earth, water, fire, and spirit. Items commonly used in all rituals.
Statues and masks, for cultural diversity and creativity.
The purpose for this space is to have a safe place to say a prayer, meditate and to connect with the ancestors leaving the space uplifted and mindful.
The space is now closed to the public because of COVID 19
note to the ancestors which will be placed in a bottle and placed in the water from City Island at the end of the exhibition.
*Maafa - *The Great African tragedy.
*Ayahuasca * This drink was used for spiritual purposes by ancient Amazonian tribes in Peru
*Santeria* is an African diasporic religion that was developed in Cuba between the 16th and 19th centuries. It arose through a process of merging the traditional Yoruba religion of West Africa and the Roman Catholic form of Christianity.
*Pow wow a celebration of American Indian culture in which people from diverse indigenous nations gather for the purpose of dancing, singing, and honoring the traditions of their ancestors.