A photo essay by Amanda Ayala
Editor’s note: We at The Commons are thrilled to announce the opening of Amanda Ayala’s exhibition, “Connected Always,” on view at the Richmond Art Center in California. Amanda was a fellow in the 2022 APRIL/Auburn Colloquium, and some of the works on view were inspired by her time at the colloquium.
Nearby, there is a large poem painted on the wall about parents. This leads to a time-lapse video of me drawing the ancestor wheel on my iPad which is right next to a small room covered in dark blue fabric and painted dark blue with the silk fabric i dyed. Visitors walk through this as black lights illuminate the ice blue fluorescent paint. The ancestor wheel glows bright. Along the walls I painted: “Welcome, my ancestors came with me, my ancestors greet your ancestors, I greet your ancestors, I greet you. Thank you for being here with us, thank you for being you, so grateful you exist.”
This leads out to a wall around the corner that has clipboards, long strands of fabric ribbons, and a big fabric braid in a U-shape. This is where people can start a conversation with their ancestors/parents, writing a question, message, prayer, or hope they want to share. Then they push one end of the ribbon into the braid. After a while, many blue and purple stands will be draped through the braid.
Then there are three sketchbooks displayed, including the sketchbook I created and filled during my time at the summer colloquium. Other members of the colloquium wrote comments on the ancestor wheel on post-it notes and those are featured. Then there is another big-screen TV with a spinning ancestor wheel animation that i made.
In the middle of the room is a long soft bench, so you can rest there covered in silk, with two cushioned chairs draped with purple-dyed satin tablecloths.
In the end, one has to walk around the room clockwise to arrive almost back at the entrance. There one finds three big baskets on pedestals, all tilted forward with three ancestor wheel pillows in each. On the painted wall, participants are encouraged to pick up a pillow and hug it, and their ancestors. The pillows are beautiful, they are made with hand painted/printed and dyed silk linen so they are super soft.
All work at The Commons is published under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/