Feelings of Home: A need to simplify

by Hayveyah McGowan

July 10 – Sept. 5, 2020
High Low Gallery

As I write this, the necessity for one’s sacred space has become more evident. The world is going through a shift, exposing certain truths, the likes of which have always been evident to black people across the world. Within the black community, we intimately know such truths; we’ve seen them and felt them directly in each of our lived experiences. As a result, once again, those outside of the black community are collectively reevaluating the systems that have uplifted their humanity and livelihood while oppressing others. During these chaotic times, it is important to offer spaces of rest and contemplation. Particularly spaces that illuminate ideas that are rooted in blackness and what peace and healing look like for us. I am extremely grateful and humbled by the opportunity to create such a zone, offering these works as a sacred site, for such a time as this. 

Traditionally through modes of spirituality, diverse forms of protection rituals both literal and symbolic in nature have historically played an important role throughout the world. For black and brown people performing rituals that permeate their homes and domestic spaces and the continual efforts of generations to preserve these acts have become a quest for sovereignty and collective unity.  By looking deeper into the representations we are surrounded with, understanding its history, and then, transforming it into a place of protection and empowerment is where we find our magic. To truly dig into such a broad and expansive idea I had to simplify it all and start at home.

“Feelings of Home: A need to simplify” pays homage to the matriarchal lineage, particularly in my family, as a reflection on the sacred spaces they cultivate. Imbued with protective magic, these sacred spaces are assembled through nature, numbers, patterns, and objects. This particular practice of space making calls its viewers to take pause and reflect on their own maternal surroundings and the ways they have existed within them. In this context “maternal surroundings” are not bound to the idea of a certain sex rather its the qualities of birthing receptivity, nurture, and sensuality, all expressed through the subtle realm and reinforced in the physical. Through this alchemical process I want to call attention to, not only, the unique ways that the black maternal lineage creates safety but also the synchronicity and rooted need for safety that we share.

Special Thanks: To my grandmothers Dorris Dawkins & Vieneta McGowan