Forest Royalty at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Addressed: Baker Artist Awards
In March 2020 - when Covid lockdown began - I started hiking the same five-mile trail at Loch Raven Reservoir, almost every day. This allowed me to experience the slow daily shifts of the seasons and observe the multitude of fungi that exist, often fleetingly. I hiked that trail so many times, that even in the winter, when it was snowy and the trail was gone, I mostly knew where I was going. On my way in, I would allow my mind to wander, often I would be called off trail for one reason or another, only to be rewarded by finding the most magical mushrooms. At some point, I realized I was practicing a walking meditation, an act of present moment awareness. I started noticing the smallest details, the way nature was in a constant state of flux, birth followed by death, then birth again, incessant change. Through photography, I documented the minutiae of the daily shifts occurring on the forest floor, in particular, the fungi. Once at my destination - a beautiful peninsula overlooking the top of the dam - I would meditate. I would also hug a nearby Beech tree and pray to my ancestors. On my hike out I would spend thirty minutes thinking positive affirmations and another thirty thinking about what I was grateful for. When friends hiked with me, they joined along, it was magical; each of us taking turns sharing our most vulnerable thoughts and feelings. A much-needed moment of deep connection amidst rampant Covid induced isolation. As I continued these daily self-care rituals and documenting the shifts occurring on the forest floor, something inside of me shifted as well. We're not taught how to love ourselves or how to heal from trauma. I've been doing healing work for many years; I've struggled with addiction, childhood trauma, and loss. But the healing that occurred during those daily hikes, because of my spiritual practices, was monumental. In visually creating a snapshot of this personal journey for the exhibition, Baltimore, Addressed: Baker Artist Awards at the Baltimore Museum of Art, I hope to offer the audience a place for quiet reprieve, where nature's beauty and wonder hold space for the connection and healing of all things.
Heartfelt gratitude to the Baker Artist Awards, GBCA, the BMA, and all involved for making this project possible.