The Nkisi Project

Sometimes you make art and sometimes art makes you.

I have been talking with people around me about aspects of making art that are simply magical. When I talk about this with artists, and people working in the healing arts, we often discuss a guiding energy that courses through us in the performance of creation, or healing acts. When I participated in the We Love Clean Rivers river clean up, where I was allowed to take whatever materials I wanted that were recovered from the river to create artwork out of, I went in with little plans. How could I approach a project like this in any way but receptively and intuitively?

The We Love Clean Rivers project brought me into contact with many metal objects. Metal was unfamiliar territory, but I had no fear. I was intrigued with the shape of the objects, and began by shaping them into slim, pointy pieces, some with holes. They resulted in a series I call Peacemeal.

As I pondered what to do with all of these pointy pieces, that were beginning to take on the form of ritualistic, knife-like objects, I received an invitation to participate in the Nkisi project, curated and coordinated by Sarah Rockett, Tammi Brazee, and Peter Yumi. The synopsis of The Nkisi Project is well described in this statement, “By creating our own power figure installation, our community, its hopes and actions, are manifested via the insertion of individually made ritual objects.” If you research Nkisi Nkondi you’ll find additional info regarding the original context and inspiration for the project. The basic idea is that a wooden figure is made and nails (or sharp objects) are driven into the figure as an act of requesting the Nkisi Nkondi spirit to intervene in human social affairs.

The object I submitted as a participant in The Nkisi Project, part of Ingrained which opens at Ice Cube Gallery in Denver, Colorado on Dec. 12th, 2014, is from this Peacemeal series. I titled it “Island” and gave the trio of artists in charge of the project free choice to suspend, hang with a nail, or drive into a piece of the wooden power figure structure after making a pilot hole. My request is to activate playful re-imagination and intentional re-making of our community!

Westword Press on The Nkisi Project

The Nkisi Project – Peter Yumi

The Nkisi Project – Sarah Rockett

My object for The Nkisi Project.
My object for The Nkisi Project.



By V2R2

Veronica Reeves is an artist living and working in the Pacific Northwest, USA.

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