Life Line Artist Statement
My grandmother and great grandmother fwere master knitters, lacemakers and embroiderers, practices that had been passed down through the generations spanning hundreds of years in the Sephardic diaspora.
I began the lifeline garment while I was 8 months pregnant, doing my MFA and on the precipice of becoming a mother. The blue shawl was modelled after a shawl that was knit by my grandmother Clara, that I used to put on as a child whenever i was feeling unwell, as it had the magical healing abilities. I was seeking to create a healing ritual/ ceremony for myself that would help me to build connections, on the one hand to some kind of spiritual lineage, and on the other hand to the land/ place where I live as a settler/ descendent of immigrants.
The performance that I created with this garment is modeled after an orthodox Jewish religious ritual act traditionally performed exclusively by men called "wrapping the Tefflin" you can watch You Tube videos of the ritual being performed, but essentially in the ritual, the religious men, wrap leather bands attached to amulets around their arms and head as a way of connecting with God. In my performance, the aim is to connect with the earth, and the life giving properties of the Humber River and Lake Ontario, the two major bodies of water in my city of Toronto, which were just a stone's throw away from the hospital where my daughter was born. I'd been hoping to give birth at an indigenous birthing centre, which is where I saw a painting depicting the Indigenous view of the birthing and nursing process as connected to the life waters of rivers and lakes.
Due to complications I wasn't able to give birth at the birthing centre, but had to have c-section surgery. I wrote and recorded the accompanying audio track on keyboard, and collaborated with my friend and musician Mark Andrade to create an ambient, trance inducing soundtrack to the ceremony. The decision to incorporate sound, was inspired by family narratives of my great-grandmother Julia who used to sing Ladino (ancient Spanish) love songs on the porch while she would knit.
The performance of lifeline, is my creation of a contemporary ceremony that is meant to function as a rite of passage/ preparation for a new way of life after becoming a mother, in which my studio time and my creative time would be cut into, and evolve into new more cyclical repetitive acts which require giving of myself and my time, emotionally and physically.