Decolonizing Rituals

Rituals of Change 2020 - workshop I

A series of three workshops as one continuous three-week program, through three very different artistic practices. All working with ritual. We connected on and offline from our different homes, temporary residences or studios, based in various countries.

These workshops were: Decolonizing Rituals with Fazle Shairmahomed, The Good Stuff Doesn’t Sit Still with Maureen de Jong | ‘t kleinkookbedrijf, Sense of Place with Arita Baaijens. The online sessions took place on three consecutive Thursdays in November 2020 and ran for about 2 hours. In the week before each session, participants were introduced to the artist and their practice per daily e-mails, which included material for reflection, daily ‘tasks’, incentives and visual inspiration. Everyone was invited to keep a log of each week; as a memory, a trace or a map of their journey through the practice.  

With this preparatory offline engagement and commitment by everybody who took part, Dancing on the Edge was seeking to create an embodied experience, where we could be ‘present’ in a way that online workshops don’t usually achieve. All three artists invited us to approach their practice in a very personal, self-reflective way. To draw a line of connection through our past, our bodies, how we relate to our immediate surroundings; with attention for inner rootedness, nourishment, ways of being together. The logs provide beautiful traces of all of this, both in image and word. The visual reflection (GIF in the header) is compiled by designer Corine Datema. 

Decolonizing Rituals – Fazle Shairmahomed

This first workshop tapped into traditions of spiritual practice in the decolonization process. A deeply personal process of performing short daily writing rituals to our ancestors and assembling an altar out of objects and actions to symbolize activation, purification, materialization, dematerialization and transformation. These rituals were combined with body work focused on the relationship between the heart and hara (center). 

I hope the practice of creating a decolonizing ritual and connecting to your ancestors has invited you to develop a personal way to activate a process of decolonization,
with the intention to purify yourself from the violent mechanisms which colonialism has brought forth which we often have internalized and inflict upon others and ourselves,
by recognizing those who have come before us, those who have shaped the conditions for the realities we live today,
with an act of materialization to acknowledge our physical existence,
to search for the guidance through movement within ourselves,
as a way to transform towards another reality in which we can believe in the possibility of not being objectified by others, and also cease to be objects to ourselves,
by acknowledging our immortality and transience through an act of dematerialization.



Activation A CANDLE, Feeling lonely [wanting] to connect with others  MATCHES DRUMS. Lost tape of you singing. ESFAND, LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL, MYRRH ESSENTIAL OIL, SANDALWOOD, INCENSE, ROSE WATER, SPRAY, SAGE. TEA, ROSE TEA, SEVEN DRIED FRUITS. A BAR OF CHOCOLATE. A HANDFUL OF WHITE RICE AND A CALABASH. I will look you in the eyes until I feel you are human as well. You are love. CHESTNUTS, NETTLES, MATCHES AND A FIRE-RESITANT BOWL. A FANCY BIT OF INHERITED CLOTHING, AN UNBLOWN SMILEY BALLOON, STICKERS. THE SEARCH = POT OF GOLD BY SHEL SILVERSTEIN. You were a product of your time, I get that. Why did you choose to dehumanise yourself? WATER NEXT TO BED. Purification BRUSHING THE SKIN, The loss of you kept my mama from me HAIR. Recognition SPRAYING MY HANDS AND FACE, SMUDGING MYSELF AND ALTAR WITH SAGE. GARGLING TEA. Can you be around me, just to give me faith I can do this, and whisper, I got your back? BREAKING OFF A PIECE OF CHOCOLATE WITHOUT EATING IT (YET). POURING A HANDFUL OF WHITE RICE INTO A CALABASH. I made a promise to him that his descendants will know him. DRINKING TEA. TEARING THE WRITING IN SMALL PIECES, PLACING PIECES IN THE BOWL. BURNED THE PAPER WITH INCENSE, THEN WITH A LIGHTER. Transformation & dematerialization LIGHTING THE FRUIT WITH ALCOHOL. I admire your courage, your young brave soul. BURN THEM TOGETHER. Take me. LEAVING THEM TO BURN. So that I can arrive and rest in my true essence.

To see the traces of the second workshop, click here.
To see the traces of the third workshop, click here.

To read more about the full program, click here.


Artists – Fazle Shairmahomed, Maureen de Jong, Arita Baaijens
Curator – Natasja van ’t Westende
Creative Producer – Agnes Matthews
Designer Logs & Visual Reflection – Corine Datema
Marketing – Bora Sirin

Produced and initiated by Dancing on the Edge
With support of Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst

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