My backboard is about cultivating sweet healing honey in our environment. The symbolism is meant to honor New Orlean’s rebounding strength and resilience: wild honeysuckles, dandelions and cattails are native, under-appreciated and obliterated, wherein if you spend the time to cultivate and engage they are medicinal, useful, and available to everyone. The net is crafted from cattails hand-harvested and cured near my house on the Mississippi levee, woven to signify loving nurturing. The halo is a mandorla, a shape created by overlapping circles, to symbolize the healing capacity of accepting opposites: the rejected with the loved, sweet with the dour, the softness with strength, hate with love, the dark and the light. Spending time to honor and interweave the contrasts is the sweet honey shot of love and community.”
Sharing bit of the deep dive I took for this Pelicans Redbull project, “Nola has wings”, into my New Orleans matriarchal ancestry, I chose a female line of matriarchs because I don’t think they’re typically highlighted in records, and because the way I’ve been told is that my great grandmother was promiscuous : I wanted to find out more to try to heal that bit of family shaming I inherited: I found that their family started the first greenhouse, near where the Whole Foods is on Magazine, then I found the down the line they had been Acadians in Nova Scotia: They got deported from the Colony in Canada, back to Cherbourg France on the kings frigate called “l’inconstante” and then years and kids later, uprooted again failed planting in Nantes Frnace on a ship called “l’amitie meaning friendship to Lafourche in Louisiana. I loved the names of the ships, I loved the symbolism of an inconstant friend for New Orleans, and it just fit for the sullied perspective of my matriarchal line: my great grandmother is said to have lured a priest out of his vocation only to abandon him and their daughters in repeated acts of adultery. I neither hold pride nor shame over this, but simply recognition and find the stance of observation allows for healing of some of my own personal shame, seeing the humanity of both sides even though history tells it one way (shaming the female). So this board became about celebrating the overlooked, the shamed, the weeds rather than the greenhouse perfect roses, finding the honey in the overlooked or downtrodden.
This backboard is being sold by Ellen Ogden in partnership with Where y'Art Works.
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