M.A.M.A. Issue n.45 - Rubiane Maia

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 45th edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA #artandmotherhood

April 2021: Art and words by Rubiane Maia

For the last three years, I have been investigating the concept of memory and its resonances in our way of existing. More specifically, focusing on the philosophy of Time proposed by Henri Bergson, which affirms memory as duration. In other words, it deals in depth with the subjective time that implies the continuous relationship between our consciousness and the world. This means that our consciousness (which is also memory) is not linear, as it is constituted on the indivisibility of past and present. In Bergson’s words, ‘duration is the continuous progress of the past that gnaws the future and swells as it progresses’. In my opinion, this sentence precisely confirms  the hypothesis that memory cannot be configured as a drawer where remembrances are saved, because as the past is preserved by itself as a virtuality that coexists with us, it accompanies us entirely: each one of us is the condensation of the history lived since birth – and even before it.

This notion that the past is a vital force that moves incessantly, coexisting and actualising itself through our bodies continuously has been a fundamental aspect in my current artistic production. I am particularly interested in the concept that the moment a memory is actualised through an action, it ceases to be a memory, becoming perception again. In this sense, the body becomes the device that launches us towards any future. In summary, consciousness is memory. Memory is duration. Duration is a continuous flow. This moving force is what unites the material and spiritual world. On the other hand, if we point these concepts in the direction of Indigenous Cosmologies, none of this is new. However, as we were born and grew up in a westernised world with numerous layers of violence and oppression, we are used to see the hegemonic perspective. Decolonizing memories takes a lot of effort. Effort to escape from the comfortable place of rationality. Effort to regain the vital impulse of the body that acts, that resignifies, that reorganizes time and life.

 

DISSOLUTIONS

our bodies inhabit landscapes

even on mainland, 

we follow the speed of the fish 

arms take the form of dorsal fins 

legs, tails

we are submerged, 

drunk with salt water, contradictions and algorithms 

our scaly skin burns, stings 

it is true that not all parts of the body fit together – – 

becoming-creature, becoming-noise, becoming-mud 

the ocean is full of mythologies 

hybrid beings,

bird fishes, jellyfishes, hammerhead sharks 

in the middle east, 

mermaids are goddesses of the sea, of vegetation and rain – – 

they smell of dew

in some places in Africa, 

they are stormy forces that mobilize the energy of creation

Mameto – Dandá – Kianda – –

Dandalunda, mãe-d’água, Odoyá! 

our bodies not only inhabit,

they breath the landscapes

turbulent waters,

urine – giant waves – undertow – –

my fins fold in different directions at the same time

unlike fish, i have lungs:

two spongy cones that I use  to filter the air

yes, i breathe,

i, us, the fishes and some other creatures

we breathe, even against our desire

involuntary act,

first and last movement of the life

vortex between birth and death

a gentle breeze comes in through the nostril,

fills the chest,

activates the diaphragm,

moves your tongue,

vibrates

thus, the voice is born

from voice to song, from song to word, from word to scream

our bodies not only breathe, 

they become landscapes

from each breath a mountain emerges, 

hills – dunes – stones  – – 

presence

organs are territories, 

complex systems, regions 

they make mazes and borders 

they form valleys, subtle surfaces, rivers and lakes

every mouth is an abyss, 

an endless hole

rough skin, dry leaf 

dark eyes, fissures 

anus, tunnel 

blood, current 

sweat, combustion. 

sneeze, storm 

feet, roots 

bones, architecture 

breath, gust of warm wind

body-landscape 

landscaped bodies

we inhale, suspend, count to five 

we exhale, suspend, count to four 

we inhale, suspend, count to three

silence 

we count to two, expand

one

i am breathing as someone that turn the key, 

shifting worlds to open and close the body

physical, mental, emotional,

rupture – interference – happening – – 

action that operates in the invisible, 

in a constant process of variation 

difference

breathing is to metabolize, 

dissolving all forms, segments, rules, institutions. 

breathing is channeling, 

an offer from you to you – sensitive laboratory – –

an unpredictable device

vivid dreams

 

sigh

* Photographs by Manuel Vason

More about Rubiane:

Rubiane Maia is a Brazilian visual artist based between Folkestone, UK and Vitoria, Brazil. She completed a degree in Visual Arts and a Master degree in Institutional Psychology at Federal University of Espírito Santo, Brazil. Her artwork is an hybrid practice across performance, video, installation and text, occasionally flirting with drawing and collage. She is attracted by states of synergy, encompassing the invisible relationships of affect and flux, and investigates the body in order to amplify the possibilities of perception beyond the habitual. By doing so, she is constantly re-elaborating her personal notion of existential territories (spatial, temporal, cognitive, social and political). More recently, she has been researching the concept of memory and its relationship with language and the phenomena of incorporation [embodiment], often making use of personal narratives as a device for action and resilience.

In 2014/15 she received a scholarship at the Atelier in Visual Arts of the Secretary of Culture of Espírito Santo, she launched the book ‘Self Portrait in Footnotes’ and participated in the exhibition ‘Modos de Usar’ at the Museu de Arte of Espírito Santo. In 2015, she took part at the workshop ‘Cleaning the House’ with Marina Abramovic and participated at the exhibition ‘Terra Comunal – Marina Abramovic + MAI’, at SESC Pompéia, São Paulo with the long durational performance ‘The Garden’ (2 months). In the same year, she produced her first short film ‘EVO’ that premiered at the 26th Festival Internacional de São Paulo and 22nd Festival de Cinema de Vitória. In 2016, she worked on the project titled ‘Preparation for Aerial Exercise, the Desert and the Mountain’ which required her to travel to high landscapes of Uyuni (Bolivia), Pico da Bandeira (Espírito Santo/Minas Gerais, BRA) and Monte Roraima (Roraima, BRA/Santa Helena de Uyarén, VEN). In the same year she completed her second short film titled ‘ÁDITO’. Since 2018 she has been working on the creation of a ‘Book-Performance’, a series of actions devised in response to specific autobiographical texts particularly influenced by personal experiences of racism and misogyny.


M.A.M.A. Issue n.44 – Alexis Soul-Gray and Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 44th edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA #artandmotherhood

March 2021: Art by Alexis Soul-Gray, Poetry by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Art by Alexis Soul-Gray

Alexis’s practice is concerned with loss, memory and grief. Speculative questioning about the memorial, memory and commemoration brings together a conjecture of imagery taken from personal and public archival materials. Through painting, collage and print the artist defaces and rearranges found images and objects. Soul-Gray explores themes of loss and grief with a particular focus on the trauma caused by the loss of the mother figure, questioning notions of domestic success and the cuteness inherit in memory, she uses destruction and abrasion to physically manipulate and alter found images in order to find new realities, a calm after a storm…a final resting place that cannot be reached. 

I work on canvas, linen, wood and paper. I have recently been drawn to salvaged found paper ephemera such as vintage embroidery transfers, bible pages, knitting patterns, objects of beauty and magazines/books that give advice/ instruction for domestic success. I often work in layers, deliberately interrupting images through overlap/obstruction as an attempt to create a visceral representation of the thought process. Abstraction and figuration hold equal significance. Images are continuously intersecting, abrasive, harmonious, removed…a tangible manifestation of a multi-layered interior state.

Untitled, Oil on Wood Panel

I am interested in the stillness found in studio shot images of children and women, floristry, knitting and antiques. Almost like puppets and dolls in play, I take them on a journey of change and exploration. These images were not designed to be used in paintings, their intended use was cheap printed instructional material and quickly forgotten books. Many of the images I work with date from the 1930’s-1980’s, they represent personal ancestry, collective histories, traditions and loss.

More about Alexis:

Alexis Soul-Gray is a visual artist based in Devon, UK. Her practice sits predominantly within painting, drawing and printmaking but also includes assemblage, photography and film. Alexis studied at Central Saint Martins and Camberwell College of Art, has completed the postgraduate year at The Royal Drawing School and later this year will start her MA in Painting at The Royal College of Art after 10 years of primarily caring for her two daughters. Alexis has worked in Arts education for 17 years and currently holds a lecturing role in Devon. She has also worked as  a curator, producing 3 large scale art events in unusual settings including an old village post office in rural Oxfordshire, the vaults of an Elizabethan mansion in Epping Forest and an inner city folly standing adrift, lost in Birmingham city centre, built in memory of the land owners deceased wife.

Poetry by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Mother Song

Had I sky enough, had I sea, I’d pour
that blue back into you, my second hearts.
Each dawn brings a symphony of swallows mud-nested in the eaves. A reckoning:
what dulls can shine out, have you wings and lungs.

In this house of loss and shadow, we mass
the store of what we’ve learned: Even winter-
bare buckeyes will green and bloom out. Hawks
will nest in ribbons of air. The monarch
butterflies will shock our eyes with orange wing.

More about Iris:

Iris Jamahl Dunkle is the author of three poetry collections, including Interrupted Geographies (Trio House Press, 2017). Her biography about Charmian Kittredge London, Jack London’s wife was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2020. She was the Poet Laureate of Sonoma County from 2016-2018. She teaches at Napa Valley College and is the Poetry Director of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.


M.A.M.A. Issue n.43 – María Linares and Margie Shaheed

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 43rd edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA #artandmotherhood

September 2020: Art by María Linares, Poetry by Margie Shaheed

Art by María Linares

In a short video clip a black man introduces himself and tells about his life. The camera, turned by 90°, takes him in the classic portrait format, frontal view and shoulder piece, like the portrait format in painting and photography. “Hello. I am black. I am a ‘Negro’…” the story begins. The portrayed black man talks about his work in a cocktail bar, about the tourists – who are attracted to him because of his physical characteristics –, about his leisure activities and about his dreams of marrying a tourist so that he could go to Europe with her and weave only a few braids a day.

The man embodies in his portrait many negative stereotypes that are attributed to him on the basis of his appearance (as a prejudice) and thus presents many popular clichés about black Africans. Other clips, other performances follow: A young Colombian woman talks about her work as a drug courier, a construction worker from Poland about how he brought stolen cars from Germany across the border when his driving licence had not yet been revoked because of drunken driving. Vladimir, a sailor from Russia, drinks vodka all the time. The Iranian woman who hates America, the Indian woman who fears death by fire, the Italian woman who always dresses in fashion… The art project VIDEO PORTRAITS by Colombian artist María Linares, consisting of the short video clips, is a staging that sharpens and questions widespread prejudices. In the run-up to the project, prejudices and clichés about “others” were collected in a street survey and on this basis scripts for the roles of the VIDEO PORTRAITS were developed. The exaggerated statements of the performers on the prejudices around their own identity are intended to provoke the public and at the same time offer a way to reflect on the own prejudices concerning “the other”.

VIDEO PORTRAITS, 2008

The most negative prejudices and cliches relating to notions of nationality are filtered out by means of a street survey. From this material scripts are developed for performers playing out the roles in their mother tongue.

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Video still: © María Linares/VG Bild-Kunst

This initial research lead María Linares to continue with works such RE-ENACTING OFFENCES, an ongoing project started 2016 in Recife (Brazil) and followed by stations in Dresden (2018), Bogotá (2018) and Berlin (2019), that questions and explores established notions of racism and discrimination present in everyday life. The project is based on a sensibilization exercise by Berlin’s Anti-Bias Werkstatt (a network that follows an anti-bias approach and makes people aware of the “white priviledge” in society). In this ongoing project, the participants discuss their own passive and active experiences of discrimination in front of the camera.

RE-ENACTING OFFENCES, 2016-Ongoing

Video installation at three different shopping centres in Dresden, Germany.
The project attempts to question and explore established notions of racism and discrimination present in everyday life. Protagonists discuss their own experiences of discrimination on camera.

Photo: © María Linares/VG Bild-Kunst

Linares’ projects are characterised by a growing sensibility on the importance of language and the numerous racist expressions present in our daily life, for instance the initiative to rename the so-called Day of ‘Race’ and Hispanicity, a holiday celebrated on October 12 in Colombia and other Latin American countries, that reminds a supposed “discovery“ of the Americas. RENOMBREMOS EL 12 DE OCTUBRE (LET’S RENAME OCTOBER 12) consists of a petition (www.change.org/12deOctubre) to rename this day, and of a database (www.renombremosel12deoctubre.org) that collects options for renaming this holiday. The database offers the users the option to participate and give their preferences on the alternatives for Renaming October 12. This project is also part of her research on the invention of human ‘races’. According to the Jena Declaration of 2019, the concept of ‘race’ is obsolete and should no longer be used.

RENOMBREMOS EL 12 DE OCTUBRE, 2019-Ongoing

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Encounter with Diana Quigua, researcher at Dejusticia for anti-discriminatory issues.

Photo: © María Linares/VG Bild-Kunst.

RENOMBREMOS EL 12 DE OCTUBRE (3 min extract): https://vimeo.com/42353865

An essential part of the project is to hold encounters with representatives of black and native communities, activists, ombudsmen for the rights of black and people of colour, as well as representatives of institutions that could submit a renaming law, with the aim to accomplish an official name change. The encounters are documented via photographs, videos and in a record book.

As a mother, María Linares’ artistic work is guided by a consciousness of legacy and the need to dismantle structural racism in everyday life and contribute to building an empathetic world for future generations.

Special thanks to Katerina Valdivia Bruch for editing the text.

More about Maria:

María Linares is a visual artist and researcher born in Bogotá, who lives in Berlin. She studied Fine Arts and Philosophy in Bogotá and holds two postgraduate studies, one in Art and Public Spaces at the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg and the other in Art in Context at the University of the Arts in Berlin. Currently, she is doing a practice-based PhD in Fine Arts at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. Her main interests are interpersonal relations and her fields of work are public art, video and participatory art practices.

Words by Margie Shaheed

What I Wish I Could’ve Done

if i had the words of a dictionary
in my pocket i would shake them out
onto the floor piece sentences together
to form language to tell you the mysteries
of a mother raising nine children alone
i would stockpile all of the synonyms, adjectives and verbs
for “there’s not enough food” and “we have to move again”
in a raggedy white box with one thousand lit
sticks of dynamite erasing their charred tongues
from the human lexicon forever

The Hough Riots

it was 1966 mama told us hough avenue was on fire
ignited over a ‘no water for niggers’
sign posted at a white owned bar
burn baby burn rang out for six days
to neighborhood an urban war zone
at night mama cut off the lights in the house
darkness forced us to whisper
gathering at the windowsill like baby ducks
we peeked out hoping to catch glimpses
of army tanks rolling down our street
mama made it clear whose side we were on
we were black folks fighting for our rights
i wanted us to win

“What I Wish I Could’ve Done” and “The Hough Riots” were originally published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 17, 2019.

More about Margie:

Margie Shaheed was a community poet, writer and teaching artist and the author of seven books of poetry and prose, including Playground (Hidden Charm Press) and OnomatopoeiaMosaic, and Throwback Thursdays (all from Nightballet Press). Her “Playground” stories can be found at www.timbooktu.com. Margie Shaheed passed away in 2018.