Makers Muse: Collective Grief and Collective Healing through Art
Makers Muse, our beloved flagship program, has been supporting the vibrant work of so many brilliant makers, creative disruptors, and beautiful weirdos for over a decade. In 2022, we took a deep dive into the theme of Collective Grief and Healing. Recognizing that creativity may be our most powerful tool in shaping culture and shifting paradigms, we supported artists whose work opens pathways to process pain and bring healing.
Modern societies in the West generally struggle with this foundational aspect of life: grief. Not only do these societies falter in their attempts to navigate grief alone, they tend to shun the notion of a collective reckoning with grief. We get on with life, pick ourselves up, keep a stiff upper lip—or hide away in isolation. We have lost the tools to deal with loss itself, and we have severed the link between that loss and the communities we inhabit.
Over three virtual sessions, these 10 artists convened with Kindle staff for a series of facilitated conversations. After sharing understandings of grief that resonate in their work, each artist contributed an image and accompanying creative ritual. These offerings form a mosaic as varied as the artists, yet all have fierce intentionality to confront pain while caring for ourselves and each other—combining into a whole that is more profound than its parts.
Experience their images and poetic contributions in this virtual exhibition below and on Instagram, and join us in celebrating the 2022 Makers Muses whose work guides us through…
Creative Ritual for Human Connection
Practice in the morning, standing comfortably, knees softly bent, feet slightly apart, hands at side, palms facing forward, eyes closed
Breathe each element deeply 5x, Pause, Feel, Continue
Earth: Inhale through Nose, Exhale through Nose
While visualizing green roots growing from the soles of your feet
Water: Inhale through Nose, Exhale through Mouth
While visualizing blue waves rolling throughout your body
Fire: Inhale through Mouth, Exhale through Nose
While visualizing red flames flickering in your lower-middle torso
Air: Inhale through Mouth, Exhale through Mouth
While visualizing golden winds filling your body’s every cell
Breathe normally 5x
OPEN YOUR EYES
Connect with the web of social repair. Think of a time someone caused harm and you forgave them. A time you were forgiven for a harm you caused.
Contemplate your ancestors. Who were they? What harmful actions did they take? What are the repercussions of those actions today?
Feel. What emotions come up? Talk to friends going through similar processes. Let emotions move through.
Listen to affected communities. What do people say about how healing and repair can happen?
Call in your resources, strengths and passions. How can these be directed to challenge the legacy and repercussions of ancestral harm?
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PLANTING
step one: notice anything
step two: take off socks and shoes
step three: breathe deep. fill your lungs with the earthy air that the rain summons.
step four: listen
step five: soak up the sunrays, the rain, let yourself be in awe and planted. let the songs of the birds and the warmth of the sun hold you.
step six: root and grow.
Ritual for Singing the Body Electric
(after the power has been out for a while…)
After a stretch of neglect, is there a way to visit the landscape of your body like a vacation destination? To celebrate your own bones like a holiday? Bathe your body as if your mind were outside of it. Remember your sentience as separate from your soft shell. Feel your velvet miracle of skin. Be as tender with it as you would the baby of your best friend; as gentle as you would washing your grandmother’s hands…
Inspired by Black women’s labor, this ritual is my way of recognizing these “essential workers,” especially in this time of uncertainty and hate.
night work(s): full moon power pose for femmes on the frontlines
- face the moon, stand or sit with back straight, head tilted upwards, eyes open
- open your mouth wide and quickly purse your lips to make a perfect 0
- take a deep breath, hold for a count of 6
- release your breath and howl at the top of your lungs (repeat until you feel your power)
Blood Memory. Coming home to ourselves.
Blood memory gives me comfort when I feel lost or broken. I remember that my body remembers where we come from. My body remembers my ancestors. My body remembers how to hold myself.
my body remembers how to hunt. how to survive and how to live in a good way. My body remembers all the land and creatures. My body remembers how to care.
A ritual for connection.
to be done alone or shared with others.
this connection is meant to open and close whatever it needs to. take the necessary intentional time and allow you to be present while the past and the future happen simultaneously.
Gather personal archival photographs that you believe deserve some dedicated time. Consider your surroundings. Set yourself up for receiving. sit with the archival photograph for as long as it takes for the photograph to become a mirror, a window, a portal. ask the necessary questions. give the photograph a speech. show this history compassion or do nothing at all except sit and remain open.
Creative rituals for rooting
What does it take to ground into our growth and healing?
To slow down and feel our roots?
1. Dig a medium sized hole in the earth 6-10” deep. Use hands to scoop dirt.
2. Place both feet inside. Slowly cover with the dirt until buried.
What needs to stay here? What wants to grow? Stay as long as you want.
Feel your roots in the ground.
3. Remove your feet and lovingly wash them with clean fresh water.
4. Pour the wash water into the hole. (optionally place seeds in the space)
I was told home is where your Ancestors’ bones rest in the soil. 10 years ago my Mother took me to the island where she was born. Where she spent her childhood as a landless squatter. Where her Mother’s bones rest in a mass grave. Without a specific home to return to or a headstone to kneel at, she was welcomed only by memory and emotion. Since she too has passed on, I return to this island with rare visits and frequent memories. I never met my Grandmother, my children will never meet their Grandmother. A Bloodline needs a storyline, so we keep finding new ones to tell.
“SISTERS” | THE NEW SUMERIANS | 2020-23
Digital composite image | Photography by Ahmad Nasereldein
Creative rituals for discovering your origin story
Around 7,000 years ago, an ancient civilization known as the Sumerians settled along the banks of the Euphrates river. Their story gives clues as to our origin. Non-Linear time was established as we still perceive it, and their advanced understanding of the cosmos suggests that our ancestors had a certain access to the celestial sphere that has since been lost in translation. The Sumerians mastered art, language and storytelling. They were a highly spiritual people, often depicted with their eyes staring up at the Sky. We are the New Sumerians, ancient, deeply rooted, and from the future.