Art Exhibit:"Reassurances: Incantation Bowls, Reimagined"
Tiffany Besonen and LouAnn Muhm
Sept. 12 - Oct. 17, 2014
Artist Reception: Oct. 16; 6:15 – 7:45 p.m.
Harmon Hall of Peace
Since 2010, LouAnn Shepard Muhm and Tiffany Besonen have been collaborating to create a collection of incantation bowls, in which Muhm’s incantations against fears are inscribed on Besonen’s translucent sewing pattern bowl forms. In 2010, Muhm and Besonen were educated about the large numbers of ancient Babylonian incantation bowls, 6th-8th Century CE, that have been unearthed in Iraq since the 1990s. Ancient incantation bowls are shallow bisqueware forms with a simplified character painted in the center and an incantation against a particular fear inscribed starting along the rim and spiraling toward the illustration. Each bowl and its incantation were created for a specific family’s plea for assurances against particular fears. The bowl was then buried upside down under the threshold of the family’s home, for protection. This collaboration between artist Tiffany Besonen and poet LouAnn Muhm has resulted in bowls containing incantations against cancer, violence, poverty, ignorance, and loss of hope, as well as in a series of Besonen’s dreamlike doors within doors, echoing the idea of the threshold. The results are powerful and hopeful.
Brittle Expectancies Bowls, 2014
That we may gaze out from our husks, toward the greening promise.
That our travel may reveal what is fulcrum, what is spoke.
That our tethers may be skeins of gauze that bind us, wound to wound.
That the body’s shaggy tinder may once be set alight.
That the stirring silt may surface all our hidden names.
That this counterfeited window may allow the scent of sedge.
That our brittle expectancies may willow into peace.