Ancestry Cloth is an esoteric act, a symbolic act, a metaphor for the immigrant, for the nomad, for the wanderer. It is a daily meditation, weaving together a forgetful monochromatic present with the colors and patterns just beyond memory.
When I’m cutting and stitching, I often think about Indigenous peoples around the world, who were ripped from their homes and taught to forget. When I listen to elders who are still connected to the sentience of the universe, I know what was almost lost, a wisdom for the present that we need for our survival. Despite the suffering, the abuse and the losses along the way, Indigenous cultures, by some miraculous triumph of the human spirit, have endured. Their memories are not meant to be appropriated into the Colonial Culture. Their memories teach us how to regain our own. Those of us Enculturated into Colonial Culture have forgotten so much. Yet, we have the memories of Ancestors in our bodies, calling to us. We are also survivors, waking up to those quiet voices waiting to be heard, when we slow down and listen.
The survivors of this world, those who remember, create a strong and beautiful mosaic of memories from the fragments that remain.
I am making a new skin for the skeletons: connective tissue for myself and my human family. I am making a cloth to cover our bones and to make us remember. They are the Time Traveling Champion Capes for defending the spirit. They are the Memory Headdresses for channeling what we have always known.
They are dresses of Armor, to warm us in the cold and steel our nerves when we cannot see through the darkness our forgetfulness has left us. They are the ceremonial attire for the dancer who spins to the music that brings collective memories back to the surface.
They are the wardrobe for the Nomad on her long Journey Home.