Rituals are powerful symbolic acts that help stabilise our lives. In the face of increasing atomisation and loneliness, we seek connection and meaning with fewer and fewer rituals to help us in our quest. In this workshop, participants will explore the narrative and transformative qualities of ritual through the lens of the ritual object. Through the making of our own ritual objects, we will collectively create new rituals and thus, new worlds. (Note: though participants may wish to draw upon their own religious experiences, this workshop is not an exercise in religion. It is open to people of all faiths and none).
Participants are asked to bring a small found object. The found object can be anything; it does not have to have special meaning. Other materials provided. (2hrs)
Artist Statement – Emily Waszak
I am a visual artist of Japanese descent based in Donegal. I create sculptural assemblages that involve the making and re-making of powerful symbolic object forms.
My practice is materially driven and embodied. Pieces are composed of found and natural materials collected from sites of industry, abandonment and the natural landscape, weaving thresholds into the unseen. With a background in industrial weaving, textiles are the starting point of my practice, though I engage other sculptural and spatially situated processes in the development of my work.
My work merges the personal and the sociopolitical. Informed by my political analysis and personal experience of complicated grief, mourning the death of my husband during the isolation of the Covid-19 lockdowns, I offer my work as both a prefigurative resistance to the organised abandonment of the state in collusion with capital, and a love letter to my late husband. My work responds to the disappearance of formalised rituals in contemporary western society and the implications this disappearance has for grieving bodies, atomised by late-stage racial capitalism. Ritual is the vehicle through which we can communicate with the dead and glimpse the unseen. Themes of transcendence, repetition and otherworldliness are present in my work.
Though not a literal representation, my work is informed by my cultural heritage. In exploring ritual, many of the reference points I return to are rooted in Japanese culture, including Japanese tea ceremony and the Japanese Buddhist practice I share with my Obaachan (grandmother). I also take inspiration from the wild Donegal landscape, my husband’s home place, the place where he is buried and the place where I now live.