Beauty Breaks: Session 5 | Re-cap + Photos
PHOTOS BY ALLY ALMORE
Beauty Breaks Session 5 was a special session on Darkness that emphasized the meaning of darkness as something to be embraced rather than feared, focusing on ancestral healing. Amina Ross opened the space through a breathing and connectedness mediation that transitioned into her workshop, "Calling Loved Ones In: a meditative opening and intro to ancestor workshop," where she invited ancestors to be with us in the space. We reached out to ancestors that we may or may not have met whom we feel a strong connection to and were guided through feeling their energies within us. Amina led us to ask from them what we needed and to ask them what they needed from us. We all sat in conversation with those that we called upon. Amina's calm approach and use of rich meditative description took us to our own personal spaces for such intimate encounters.
After taking quiet time to transition out of our meditation to ancestors, Jory Drew had everyone pair up for his appetizing workshop, "Hidden Excursions." Within these group pairings one partner was blindfolded while another was given a small plate of food consisting of one appetizer serving. The blindfolded switched off with their server as different plates were brought out that served preserved foods with nuanced flavors, from fig and scallion chutney on potato fries to preserved lemons. Jory played on texture, flavors and foods that require darkness for preservation. Each group trusted a partner to serve them these exquisite flavors and relied on senses other than sight to guess what flavors they were experiences. A taste in the dark.
Once our bellies became full with intricate flavors I opened up a brief discussion, "Equation of Darkness" on my interest in science and how I have been particularly interested in dark matter and dark energy within cosmology. I find it intriguing that roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy and that dark matter makes up 27% of the universe, leaving only about 5% left of what we consider as "normal" matter. Which means that we can only account for 5% of our universe and the rest we only know is there due to an unaccounted gravitational pull. I then transitioned into paralleling our own gravitational pull as Black people; our connectedness, perseverance and energies creates a gravitational force of survival against genocide, against the imprisonment of Black bodies and against the poisoning of our children and neighborhoods.
Joelle Mercedes then brought in a tasty treat and a light energy for his workshop, which was a playful birthday celebration for his grandmother who has passed. Joelle shared with us a Dominican dish that his abuela made him, Platanos al Caldero (caramelized ripe bananas). As we all sat and enjoyed this dish he blew balloons for the party and placed them around the space. He then read of activities that we would have may have done at his abuela's birthday party. The creation of new memories in what would have been a birthday party from old memories through taste, a recital of activities and sounds that Joelle provided was a beautiful and sweet hearted gesture. We were all invited to sketch and draw upon childhood memories, whether it be an imaginary friend, a favorite food or place.
We all took a moment to relax while drawing, listening to music and holding conversation in the dark before welcoming Allen Moore to present on sound, nostalgia and the power of familial inspiration. Allen opened up with us about how much his Mom influenced his practice. Allen talked about how as a child records that were playing in the house when his mom was sick and in and out of the hospital brought him comfort. Today as an artist he began to cast these records using graphite and replaying the graphite versions. As Allen played the graphite records it brought melodic sounds into the space as the graphite plays back in loops from the sounds it catches from the original versions. Allen talked about how graphite is black and a necessary part of nature. Everyone gathered around to get a feel for the graphite records as Allen talked more about them with nostalgia and joy.