Gardiner Museum Expressive Arts Group Exhibition
December 6 - 13, 2016
UDU you think you are?…
It began with the vision of a crowning – a rebirth if you will, and then one by one, they came forth, the instruments required for a healing practice, a reminder from the ancients. A sacred ceremony for myself and all my relations- young girls, women and the elders too and it must be said for boys and men too. This is for all those, who have come before and after me who were brutalized internally and externally by individuals and groups who: 1)Deemed it justified for their own profit, pleasure and/or benefit, 2)Dominated and oppressed because of what they lacked within, 3)Were brutalized themselves and continued the brutalization forward. And these pieces, this ceremony I have created is soul medicine for the internal and external screams that were denied, ignored, written out of the popular his/herstories of what has happened in families, in communities, in this country, on this continent and in the cosmos.
I hear you.
I hear your screams.
I feel you.
I am you.
And no longer will I be silent.
Through clay, the women, the circle, hands, head and heart, with ancestral memories of ceremony, community and coming together in creation, sound and movement: We, Us, I heal the wounds away; releasing memory, pain, sadness and anger with every coil used to create shape and form, while unleashing power & joy; taking space in organic ways, much like the locks on my head. This “sticky fine-grained earth, lead me to the waters of Crete, the shores of Japan, the Continent containing Nigeria and the Igbo peoples, the island once known as Xamayca and now I am home again within me, emboldened to share what I know to be true.
A Basket, an UDU drum, and 5 Cups
The basket made of coils, and spirals embodying the energy of the Divine Feminine, can be used to carry the water or palm wine for nourishment and celebration. The UDU – has many functions. Udu is an Igbo word for pottery, peace, vessel, pot, or drum, traditionally made and played by Igbo women in Nigeria with the clay gathered in sacred practices. When the UDU is played it is said to evoke the voices of the ancestors, spirits, and the Gods for help and guidance in healing rituals. There is more of this UDU/ Peace within me now after this clay exploration and process. 5 cups – 5 is significant of change, the 5 elements, creative manifestation and freedom to pursue that which my heart desires from this day forth. These cups representative of the women gathering together in the healing circle today and in ancient times. May there be healing for all those who need it whether they know it or not. May the stories be told, listened to and learned from. May true justice, safety and joy reign for all. Thank you to all the women in this beautiful group who shared emotions, ideas, kindness, gentleness, humour, and courage as we gathered together in this space of creation and care. Thank you to our teachers and facilitators where the responses of: “Yes”, “sure we can”, “Try it”, “Take space, you don’t have to go small”, “Whatever you like” “What can I get you?” “What do you need?” fueled my soul and imagination. To the staff of and the Gardiner Museum itself and the Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, I thank you; to work with clay was a dream long deferred – no longer so – this healing has long been waiting to happen - renewed I am as creator & healer. Walk Good. In gratitude and love, Althea E. Knight