by David Wagoner
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
Marking Here(s), a workshop with Sobia Ahmad
wherever you are is called Here
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger
Here is the pandemic;
Here is the long overdue reckoning with White supremacy;
Here can also be a momentary state of mind, an intimate struggle, or a physical location.
In this moment of rupture, our personal and collective Here(s) are interlacing, ever-shifting and marked by unease.
Here is the current moment. Here is fraught.
It is not gentle. It is not consoling. It is just a part of the truth.
Here is asking us to know it, and be known.
Mark your Here, your inner landscape; mark our Here(s), our shared realities.
What is on your heart? What is your Here? What are your Here(s)?
What are you grieving?
How is this grief emerging through you?
How are you being present to your own personal and our collective grief?
How are you releasing it?
What practices have grounded you in this time of uncertainty?
What are your rituals?
If you do not have one, create one, in silence and in solitude.
What are you shedding?
What are you surrendering to?
What are you fighting for? What are you fighting against?
How are you resting?
What feels broken? What feels possible?
How is hope emerging through your Here? How is hope emerging through our collective Here(s)?
What are the implications of our Here(s) intersecting, intertwining, colliding?
How can our Here(s) inform the myriad possible futures?
How can we cross this threshold?
Where is this rupture in time leading us?
We are Here; mark your Here; mark our Here(s).
In this workshop, Sobia Ahmad will lead students in a series of creative exercises to mark their idiosyncratic Here(s). Through meditation, ritual, and visual journaling, students will be invited to gain a deeper awareness of their own internal landscapes and our various shared realities. They will reflect on the implications of our personal and collective Here(s) intertwining by creating experimental weavings using ephemera important to them and their narratives. These weavings will be translated by the artist into a larger installation and will be shared in an exhibition this winter. Emphasizing the introspective process over an art product, this workshop is an invitation to expand imagination and experience the healing power of creativity. No prior art skills needed.
Marking Here(s) is a part of the project wherever you are is called Here
Organized in conjunction with the Alumni Art Commission for the 2020 NextNOW Fest
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland College Park