Join us at the cHURCH to participate in "ritual cools the head," an interactive project by Nia I'man Smith.
This is a free event. Bagels and coffee will be served.
Emerging from Smith’s own engagement with ritual as an Orisa devotee within the Isese tradition as practiced throughout Yorubaland in Nigeria, her project aims to challenge the idea that ritual only functions within the realm of religious/spiritual practice. Rather, this project will assert an alternative theory—that rituals inherently exist within the tasks, routines, and practices of everyday life, and can occur as forms of self-care. Direct and casual at its core, participants will be invited to fill out and submit a biographical info sheet in which they are asked to describe a personal ritual; in exchange, they will be given the biographical info sheet of a stranger to take home and contemplate. This is part of an ongoing project by Smith, in which every ritual info sheet will be photographed, catalogued, and eventually made available in a collection of thematic chapbooks.
Nia I’man Smith is the founder of THE BLACK CONNECTION, a blog and apparel brand dedicated to the celebration of Blackness as expressed through music, literature, and spiritual traditions. Nia I’man Smith’s work as THE BLACK CONNECTION can be found on tumblr and etsy under THE BLACK CONNECTION moniker. Her creative writing can also be found in the anthology, "Say it Loud: Poems about James Brown," published though Whirlwind Press and the webjournal, The Liberator. She is currently a Museum Educator at the Studio Museum in Harlem and works as a Program Manager at ArtsConnection, aiding in providing innovative arts programming to millions of students in the New York City public school system.
This event is presented in conjunction with "Reimagining Tradition," a program developed by Open Source Gallery to highlight intersections between socially engaged art and ritual practice through a series of site-specific projects by New York City-based artists. Pieces in "Reimagining Tradition" defy the constraints of traditional gallery exhibitions and blur modern distinctions between art and the sacred. Artists in the program include: Leigh Davis, Erin Ellen Kelly, James Leonard, Jasmine Murrell, Nia I'man Smith, Ultracultural Others
The cHURCH OF MONIKA is a moderated town hall type of meeting rather than a sermon with topics varying each week/month (in 2010 once a week, in 2012 once a month). Snacks and coffee is served, doubling the event’s function as it becomes an alternative to brunch with bloody marys. Despite our trepidation about the influence of religion, and specifically the church, on politics, there is no doubt that the fostering of community is it’s strongest public contribution. We seek ideas from artists, writers, politicians, and input from neighbors. The origin of the cHURCH stems from our admiration of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. This profound monument to the freedom and pursuit of self-reflection is a model of art as a surrogate for religion. We take a non-denominational and tolerant attitude in our journey through life and our hope is to build an alliance with people of all faiths and world-views. We suffer no delusions of grandeur, we only seek to inspire and be inspired by the art of life and community.