‘Ancestral Ritual 1’ explores the phenomenon of inherited ancestral trauma, wherein the experienced traumas of ones ancestors are passed down epigenetically, manifesting as psychological and physical conditions. This piece stems from an intensely personal experience of inherited traumas, the numerous unthinkable traumas inflicted on direct and recent ancestors in Poland during the World Wars, and Communist occupation.
It explores the conflict which exists between the desire to release traumas, with survivors guilt, and the feeling that releasing the weight of these traumas on our shoulders is a betrayal to those who lived through them, as illogical as that may seem. In this piece I perform a ritual in which I both honour and thank my ancestors for the pain and losses they endured in order for my life to exist, as well as symbolically dissolving the traumas, removing the burden from my shoulders.
The burdens are manifest as dissolvable red beads, a essential part of the traditional Polish folk costume in which I dress. I remove this strand of beads from my neck, and one by one lower the beads into the pool of water beneath me, allowing them to bubble and disappear, into the earth.
The piece is designed to be played via 2 looped channels, the first video projected low onto a wall, with the second video projected down onto the floor beneath it.
The work was filmed in Coogee, NSW, a traditional Aboriginal place of healing.