As individual and collaborative artists, we have many influences and mentors that help to form and inform the work we create. Recently, an incredible installation artist/arts activist (and our most influential mentor), gave us a piece of their artwork. Usually, when an artist gifts artwork, they do so hoping to have it displayed with care and reverence. In this case, the idea was to split up what was once a huge installation and distribute it to several artists who would hopefully dispose of their given piece in a ceremonial way (or perhaps reinvent it). With this in mind, we chose to hold a symbolic burial and fire ceremony on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay- ancient waters significant to members of the Knomad Colab as well as our artist mentor.
Although burial is practiced for practical purposes, there are many symbolic reasons to perform a burial, such as to show respect for physical remains or to bring closure. In cultures that believe in the afterlife, burial is a necessary step towards reaching the afterlife. Still, burial is not always the way cultures choose to dispose of remains. In Hindu practices, for example, cremation is customary. The deceased person is placed upon a funeral pyre until only ashes remain, then the ashes are sent up the river- most likely the Ganges, as it is a highly preferred location for funerary rites and is regarded as sacred water with tremendous healing power.
The goal for this installation was to hold and stage a symbolic burial and funeral pyre on the banks of the ancient waters of the Chesapeake Bay (you can catch a glimpse of the famous Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the background).
This ceremony was held not only for the physical piece of art we were given, but also for any intangibles in need of disposal. This was no doubt a form of cleansing in the proverbial ancient waters.
After dispelling our demons and paying our final respects to a monumental piece of artwork, it was time to move forward.
Now, the journey continues… next stop Southern Pines!