In early ancestral worship practices, it was believed that our passed loved ones could visit us in our dreams and visions to provide spiritual guidance, protection, knowledge and wisdom. In return, living family members would create sacred spaces, ceremonies, and practices to honor and celebrate the lives of their ancestors.
These early ancestral worship practices are seen in the spiritual practices of the Garifuna (Garinagu), Ibo (Igbo), and other groups of people. The most important value of the Garifuna is their ancestral worship which consisted of traditional song, dance, and food, such as Cassava bread, and even connecting with their ancestors through dreams and Dugu; A ceremony used to connect and thank the ancestors and also help the ancestors cross over into the spirit realm.
As a young black girl growing up in the South, I was raised to believe in the afterlife. My mother taught me and my sister that as our loved ones passed, the connection that we once shared with them in the physical realm continued in the afterlife; It just took a different form. Sometimes, this connection came in the form of dreams and visions, in which our ancestors could provide guidance. This was followed by stories from my grandmother, aunts and uncles of passed loved ones visiting through their dreams to send a message. Once I grew older, I too began to have my own dreams and visions of my ancestors that I never got to meet.
Oftentimes in my work, I use sacred geometry and figural work to explore this connection as I believe it is one that we all have and share.
I created Mementos, to not only explore the connection that we have with our ancestors but also to give honor and connect to those who came before me; As a black woman, I believe that learning who our ancestors are and learning what their traditions/practices were, is learning who we are and from whom we come from as black people. Through this body of work is how I am choosing to create a sacred space.