Created Image: Weaving the Past Forward

Image

License

Creative Commons Licence

Contributors

Created date

November 23, 2018

Critical Commentary

This piece considers the cultural terrain of ancestral earth as resource and provision as well as reflection of the human condition. Through ethnographic frameworks of medical systems in rural Uganda, my work explores the relationship between earth and humanity, and the condition of each. Set in theories of eco-feminism, environmental humanism, and critical anthropology, my larger project considers the ecological past as the cure for the future. As we simultaneously make earth our sacred home and subject it to destruction, this work looks at how the continuation of life on earth is always a crisis. Amongst conversations of the Anthropocene, this project explores ecological mutuality as an emollient. Calibrating, attuning, and adapting to surroundings defines organic survival. What does natural or biological come to represent in the future? The “bush,” or wild environments, are symbols of senses of self, history, and connectivity that people visit in pilgrimage to ground, gather, and recall their bodily home base. My work points to the industrialization of medicine and the colonization of health in the name of development. I look at historical and personal connections that community members have to wild natural environments and theorize on the earth as resource and as something that people tend, meaning to manage and care for. In this image of a woman weaving natural reeds into mats for flooring, I ask how the environment is a teacher of how to be. The open expanses in the background pose the question of future and incoming development and pollution, and the transposed image at the woman's feet shows glowing (alomst nuclear) rods from my installation, suggesting that contamination is infused in (or woven into) seemingly natural materials. The title suggests that it is in these practices of earth-based practice that such ways of life are held, posing how the past is a metaphor for humanity.