In a queering of the Catholic “ex novoto” tradition, where symbols of body parts can be used as offerings that evoke gratitude or desire for healing, Laur Lewis Neal will lead participants in a ritual, accessible and open to all, that centers queer and trans bodies. Participants will be guided through a practice of letting go; offering up parts of themselves that no longer serve them so that healing can enter the new space left behind. This ritual acknowledges the transformative act of relinquishing ownership, infusing generosity and gratitude into the objects, identities or traumas we choose to release.
In the Catholic ex novoto tradition, symbols of body parts are used as offerings that evoke gratitude or desire for healing. For our re-imagined ex novoto practice, we ask that you bring to this ritual an idea of your own ex novoto, whether it is a body part, identity, story or trauma that you want to shed. We will ritualize its release together, creating generosity as a door to healing.
Important information for the event:
-Ahead of time, we suggest journaling or contemplating on a meaningful, personal ex novoto you would like to offer up.
-Please bring paper and pen for the writing aspects of the ritual.
-We will sit on mats on the ground for the half-hour ritual, so please let us know in advance if you require different physical accommodations.
-Their Body Became (an Offering) will be documented and made available online for others to follow, but care will be taken to respect privacy of participants.
-10-15 participants will be spaced six feet apart in this outdoor environment. If you need to cancel your spot for any other reason, please take care to let us know as soon as possible, as space is very limited.
Please meet at 6:30 near the parking payment kiosk in the parking lot of the Los Angeles State Historic Park. From there, you will be guided to the artist’s installation and performance site. The ceremony will begin promptly at 7pm and will last 30 minutes.
If you need to cancel your spot for any other reason, please take care to let us know as soon as possible, as space is very limited.
About the artists: LAUR LEWIS NEAL is a nonbinary writer, historian, and artist based in Los Angeles. Their essays, research, and interviews interrogate how physical space is gendered and raced in community building and politics. They have been published in Dissent, Guernica, and After Ellen, and their prose was a finalist for the Summer Literary Prize. As a writer-in-residence at the Grin City Collective, Neal explored poetry as ritual, removing it from a strictly religious context and reappropriating it as a personal form of healing inclusive of queer experience. In the interactive poetic installation All My Saints at the Rurally Good Festival, they conducted rituals canonizing people in our past as a form of healing. Their current focus is on symbols and rituals that expand physical space outside the binary
veronique d'entremont is a transdisciplinary artist who looks to early Christian mysticism and earth-based practices for ways to claim queer ancestry with human & non-human kin. Their practice spans devotional sculpture, audio installation, video, performance, and an inter-species collaboration with a feral colony of honeybees. Through myth-making, veronique seeks paths to healing our relationships to the environment, each other and ourselves. Their current public artwork, inspired their own mother’s martyrdom and sainthood, explores avenues of mysticism and ritual that center trans and other queer bodies.
veronique d'entremont for WE RISE 2021 veronique d'entremont presents a public artwork that reimagines their own family legacy of bipolar disorder and suicide through the veneration of human ancestors and non-human kin. Through their devotional sculpture and poetry, d'entremont crafts a personal mythology that seeks to reclaim agency and find liberation amidst patterns of intergenerational trauma.
A tapestry bearing a selection from the artist’s poem Hail Holy Queen: A Novena to the Bees provides the ground for an empty clay shrine at the top of the hill. The shrine simultaneously refers to a backyard grotto that might house a religious icon, but also to the mountain caves in which feral honeybee colonies commonly make their homes. Over the course of the installation, the unfired ceramic shrine will evolve, reminding the viewer of both the impermanence of human-made institutions and the lifecycle of the natural works.
At the foot of the hill are a series of sculptural receptacles, bearing purposeful statements written by the artist as a form of invocation. Viewers are invited to write their own responses or prayers and insert them into openings incorporated into the sculptures. In future artworks, the artist will engage these written contributions, and the ceramic receptacles will be put to use as sculptural hives for feral colonies of honeybees.
WE RISE is the annual Mental Health Awareness Month initiative of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s ongoing WHY WE RISE campaign, funded by sponsorships and Prop 63.