Wisdom From The Earth

As Baltimore Clayworks’ community artist-in-residence from its partnership with MICA’s graduate program in Community Arts, I taught clay classes among senior adults at Clayworks Jubilee Arts satellite studio in Sandtown. This installation features memory vessels which I made to receive written reflections and symbolic mementos of my students’ memorable life experiences. The memory vessels borrow from the idea of the use of treasure chests, used in keeping mementos of things, people and experiences that we, as human beings, want to treasure in our memory. The first vessel received joyful memories of significant events that have shaped the seniors’ lives and the people that they loved. The second one received their painful memories; and the third received their plans for the future. 

I designed an activity inspired by indigenous healing rituals that use the healing power of the natural environment. In this ritual, people gathered with others to express publicly whatever emotion needed to be expressed. It provided an opportunity for members of the group to make sense of, reconcile, and celebrate a wealth of life experiences, while bringing them closer to one another as a community. The activity took place at a garden near the Jubilee Arts center.

This installation was made after the activity as part of “15 Art Actions” shown at the Brown Center of the Maryland Institute College of Art  in July 2010.

photos by Katti Sta. Ana 

and Holly Crawford

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