How can we put the year and all its heartache to rest?
I’ve made a ritual for this year, as we haven’t been able to mourn or celebrate or bury anything in our usual ways. If you’d like to perform it, you need paper, canvas, dirt, golden beeswax and matches.
1. Write or draw whatever memory you haven’t been able to put away. This part was difficult for me, but it might be cathartic to know that this may be the last time you look at the memory on paper. Thin, flexible paper works best. Write as many as you need.
2. Cut the paper into small strips, then fold and twist them tight.
3. Melt golden beeswax and arrange next to a glass of cold water. Dip your memory paper strip into the wax then the water, repeating until you have a thin, fingery candle.
4. Once you’ve finished dipping your candles, trim the ends of the paper right down to where the wax starts.
5. Set out a sheet of canvas, then make a long mound of dirt. Carefully stick your candles into the dirt, making sure they’ll stand up straight.
6. Turn the lights off and light the candles, then sit down to watch. Always be careful around fire. Watch the candles until the last one burns out.
Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, just in case.
I am a multidisciplinary artist from London, Ontario, and I’m completing the third year of my undergraduate degree in Art History and Studio Art at Concordia.
My art historical research and artistic practice are inseparable: my work exists in the intervening space between the two. By referencing obsolete and dying practices, I try to unpack the complexities of identity in relation to histories of art and philosophy. In the distress of this past year, my work has shifted to focus on the way we use ritual and tradition to create meaning in our day-to-day. These inquiries often take the form of commonplace acts such as cooking, eating, and cleaning. I’d like to thank Angie Quick, whose workshop was central to the development of the drawing-confessions I made for this project. Bio photo by Rob Nelson.