Does Christmas make you sad? And will a gallery/museum near you be lucky enough to give you the “gift of grief”? While hoping everyone are enjoying happy holidays I just want to recommend a Christmas related and wonderful work of art that I got to see a preview of at the NMNH.
As part of the Recovering Voices seminar series, Australian anthropologist Jennifer Deger, presented (Sept 21, 2011) the video installation “Christmas Birrimbirr” (Christmas Spirit) and a powerful Christmas ritual in a Yolngu community in North Australia.
When Christmas approaches the people in Gapuwiyak start remembering their dear ones they have lost and get together to cry and grieve them, while at the same time decorating the village in Christmas colors and listening to songs like “All I Want for Christmas Is You”.
As a co-operation between two Yolngu directors, an anthropologist (Deger) and a video artist this ritual has been wrapped as a three screen video installation for museums and galleries where outsiders can take part in what they call the “gift of grief”.
And even though being a complete outsider to Yolngu culture and only seeing a preview of the work I really felt it was a gift. It reminded me that grieving can be good, as a step in a process of moving on and as a contrast making one more grateful for the good things in life.
So I hope this art work will make its way to a museum/gallery near you, and meanwhile you can read a review on this blog.