Articles of faith | Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan
CATEGORYAccessibility | Diversity/ Inclusion | Sustainability
FORMATInstallation + Workshop
TARGETKids, Teenager, Families
In the summer of 2020, after the first Italian lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the Donnaregina Foundation for Contemporary Arts presented the MADRE FACTORY, from 17 June to 13 September 2020, which offered a series of free activities, workshops and artist designed workshops for to adults and children and carried out as part of the broader ‘Madre per il Sociale’ project. The workshop designed by Filippino artists Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan invited participants to reflect on their relationship with our natural environment through the creation of ‘articles of faith’ or votive objects.
The collaborative artwork conceived by the Aquilizans asked people to give shape to their beliefs and wishes using recycled objects, constructed stories and invented images, to reflect on a spiritual dimension of our relationship with the environment in which we live. Many of the virgin forests of the Philippines are disappearing, but some remain intact because people dare not touch them out of respect for the spirits thought to inhabit them and for the powers of nature. These beliefs instil deep respect for the forests and the supernatural creatures that they harbour. During the workshop, participants create amulets, talismans, votive images through combining found materials with those from their domestic space: ‘articles of faith’ that point to a porosity between everyday life and spiritual dimensions of existence. In this way everyday objects take on a power that goes beyond their usual function. After selecting two or more objects – pieces of wood, metal, stone, a game, a scrap of cloth or anything possibly considered a relic – they are assembled with thread, ropes and red bands to make the talismans. These symbols point also to the relationship between the natural environment and a sense of the sacred that draws on cultural tradition to address ecological issues. Both religious cults and environmental risks have a strong presence in Naples and Campania, so the workshops also developed strong links to locally rooted themes and sensitivities.