During my interview for the video of my artist residence, when I was asked to explain what ritual is to me, I replied without thinking: ritual is beauty. It is connecting to yourself. It´s telling yourself a story (or many), acting it out and sharing it.
Since then, I have thought a lot about rituals and the space they have in my work, my process and my life.
I learned so much about all of this from my Nani. Her discipline in her daily life turned the smallest daily routine into a ritual. Her grooming, her exercises, her readings, even her family phone calls and watching her Bollywood tv series had something sacred and beautiful about them. I remember one of the first times I ever wore a sari. I must have been 18 years old and spent over an hour in Nani's room in Accra struggling with my aunt over the pleats and pins. Nani entered her room to get dressed and in an instant of absolute grace and elegance she wrapped her white silk muslin sari around her waist and shoulder, swooped up her hair in an elegant bun and walked down to the car.
I remember it being a breathtaking moment.
Her ritual was beauty.
I constantly try to bring these little lessons of hers into my daily life. In my work process, the places I sit to draw, the music I need to listen to while drawing, the tea I drink between lines and colours, to the way I have begun to organize my pencils have turned into little daily rituals.
And then there is the content. The gods and goddesses
that appear in this book are many.
Each one has their significance, each with their own characteristics and symbolism. In the narrative, Nani brings these divine beings in childlike form to each of our homes to transmit values, lessons, blessing and well being.
Their presence in itself is a ritual, as is their form, the objects they carry and the symbols they use.
Through the rituals of cooking and ceremony, there is much celebration.
The gods turn into cooking assistants.
They are offered sweets and flowers.
They enjoy eating their offerings.
Because, obviously, the gods and goddesses also eat...
as they offer in return nutrition, new beginnings, health, prosperity, well being, abundance, love and light.
In my own little way, through this book I hope to transmit at least some of all of this beauty I am so grateful
to have received from my Nani.