Off Course & On Path is a multi-media art exhibition that explores the concept of Labyrinths as a means of exploring and tending our spiritual connections with nature. Labyrinths contain intergenerational stories that provide a glimpse into the past, present and future and are springboards to investigating the interconnectedness of our universe as holistic beings.
Curators Bayou and Saba will showcase the Eagle Affirmation Mirror, a newly created Labyrinth Affirmation Mirror, and multiple mixed media poems that center tending our spiritual connections with nature.
They will also provide templates that community members can use to create their own Labyrinths. Wisdom Ways will create a space for these creations and compile this generative community labyrinth project to be shared as images of inspiration. This interactive experience with Labyrinths requires one to physically enter space and move intuitively as an individual or collectively as a member of the whole. Thus, the primary focus being the path or the journey one chooses in order to reach their destination, which is symbolic to the many journeys we pursue in this life. Most of all, these are moments that can be intentionally utilized to tend to our hearts, and explore the interconnectedness of nature and spirituality. Please check back on the Wisdom Ways website for more information about this opportunity.
Why Labyrinths, Why Now
Labyrinths are found all over the world, and are ancient symbols that represent the multidimensional journey of life, as our paths inevitably intersect with others. The notion of bringing one to the center while honoring the individual and collective paths that we travel as members of a family, band, community, nation or tribe is a liberating force. Along this journey, we release or put down what no longer serves us, and pick up the necessary items in order to continue moving towards the next destination in our life’s purpose.
Recently, we were invited by some members of the BIPOC community to get away from the city and explore land in Osceola, Wisconsin near the St. Croix River Valley. For hours, we moved with intention as we often followed in the direction of the animals that introduced themselves as we continued to travel towards the river. We approached a rock formation surrounded by several ancient spruce trees. Immediately, we could feel the energy of the Ancestors as we walked down this elevated rock path leading us to a waterfall. Just before reaching the waterfall, we took a moment to take in the experience. As we honored our surroundings, we noticed a rock formation in the soil. After further examination, we realized that what we had discovered was actually a Labyrinth. We each used that moment to walk through the Labyrinth, as we envisioned our Ancestors doing, and then went into meditation. This experience with a Labyrinth in nature felt as if we were retracing the Creator’s footsteps and that the paths that we walk in life are not by coincidence but each an opportunity to recenter ourselves.
Offering Labyrinths as a form of intergenerational healing through the creative process gives us each the chance to weave our own unique paths. During these unprecedented times, it is crucial that we be mindful of the methods in which we care for ourselves, our families and our neighbors, as our children will inherit this earthly journey. Opportunities to center ourselves within our natural environment is crucial to our overall physical, mental and spiritual health.
Come explore a labyrinth built with found materials and templates you can use to create labyrinths in your own environments.
Held as summer solstice begins to encourage reflection and honor new beginnings and new growth in a communal setting. The vibrant energy of summer brings moments of reflection and allows the opportunity to welcome new beginnings or new growth into our lives.
WHEN: Sunday, June 20; time and location TBD. Learn more.
Bayou (aka Donald Thomas) is a Twin Cities based artist and designer born in St. Paul on the land of the Dakota & Anishinaabe peoples. Bayou creates mixed-media art called Affirmation Mirrors composed mostly of fabric wrapped wood, yarn, mirrors, and beads. He also creates murals, art installations, digital illustrations, digital and print materials for artists and organizations, and works as a teaching artist.
Bayou’s art and design embodies themes of nature from the micro to the cosmic, black and collective liberation, healing trauma, time, portals, geometry, setting intentions for affirmations, asking questions, symbols, and identity exploration. Water is an especially strong theme in the work as HaHa Wakpa (the Mississippi River) has been a major influence in many levels of his life.
Saba (aka Sean Stewart) is a Saint Paul native with deep roots in the historic Rondo Neighborhood. He is a dedicated Father, educator, and visual artist and writer. As a community member and educator, Saba has served in the CDF Freedom Schools movement for over a decade, and now serves students and families in Saint Paul Public Schools. As a writer, Saba has published the children’s book entitled Breaking The Ice, as well as various featured poems from Minnesota to Nigeria that focus on cultural identity, healing, transformation, nature and spirituality.
Saba and Bayou have collaborated on several art installations such as the Eagle Affirmation Mirror and healing murals within the Twin Cities Metro area.