The Gorgeous Offerings
The “Gorgeous Offerings” is the sister project of the theatrical creation, Requiem for a Stranger. The Offerings are a series of rituals, workshops, and community events intended to occur alongside the Requiem stage performance. The Gorgeous Offerings address and respond to the particular burden of grief and loss held in the BIPOC community. This burden includes the devastating impact of Covid-19 compounded by the layers of accumulated, embodied stress in the Black and Indigenous communities of Bulbancha. This project specifically addresses the manifestation of the “Grief Body” within the Black and Indigenous community, and the dearth of adequate, accessible resources for healing on the terms of these communities – especially inside the ongoing crisis of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The “Gorgeous Offerings” project supports the emancipation of the BIPOC body by assisting in constructing a village that can hold and transform grief, stress, and colonialist approaches to healing. The Offerings will provide an array of resources (offerings): integrative health sessions exploring a variety of evidence-based healing processes (biofeedback, genograms, etc), workshops on “Grief Mapping” and anti-colonial relationships to the land, and an episodic experimental video work chronicling a “Grief Walk” from the Black, femme perspective that explores ancestral cultural memory and embodied methods of “homecoming” as a way to restore Black women’s birthright to their own fragility in mourning.
This project is conceived by Renee Benson and supported by the artistry and perspective of Renellta Arluk, the Director of Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, filmmaker Jason Foster, textile artist Ja’nese Galathe, and Requiem co-creator Jennifer Sargent. Renee is co-envisioning the Offerings with our partners: Gia Hamilton and the New Orleans African American Museum, Mindy Milam, Social Worker from the Center for Mind Body Medicine, and Raconteur Alaina Comeaux of “Bulbancha: Decolonized Walks of New Orleans”.
The intention of the Gorgeous Offerings is to connect with individuals outside of traditional artist circles. This project centers human networks hit hard by the pandemic: frontline workers in healthcare and education, those who have lost loved ones and have lost their communal ways of mourning. The offerings also prioritize those affected by continued threats to Black bodies by law enforcement and by other forms of abuse and neglect and those whose communities are displaced due to climate impacts.