LONDON ENGLAND – I attended the Procreate Project’s Oxytocin Conference, organized by Dyana Gravina, and team, mid-May for two days of intensely powerful commissioned art, scholarship, and workshop work at Kings College. Scholar, poet, and accelerator Hannah Brockbank and I were scheduled to lead a workshop together.
Inspired by the work of Sierra Clark, the workshop was titled “Repair Work, from Sweet Nothings to Sweet Everything,” the title of her chapter in Repairing the Black Family Anthology, edited by Sister Nayyirah Muhammad. The aim of the workshop was to disrupt narratives in order to facilitate healing, which was indeed the goal of the entire conference.
The power of stories shared and the work we did together to dialogue about contemporary issues facing mothers and the women who labor through this important work could not be denied. Laura Godfrey Issacs shared information about the Birth Cafe (see more at http://www.birth are.org), PhD candidate Anna Horn’s interactive workshop on ‘Inclusive Infant Feeding’ compelled.
The conference itself was funded by the Public Arts Council of England amount others. The Procreate Project, Museum of Motherhood, and MER: The Mom Egg Review have been working together since 2015 to feature the art and literature of m/others. I am looking forward to bringing new knowledge(s) back to Florida when I return. But first, the second portion of my trip takes me on a three hour flight to the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.
XEMXIJA, MALTA with its windswept bay, Mellieha with views that stretch past the isle of Goza, Mostar, with its magnificent dome, Mdina the silent city, and Rabat. Hot, dusty, and international. Roses, cactus, olive trees and lemons. In Malta, we go to see the Goddess temples Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. These two temples comprise one of the three UNESCO Heritage sites on Malta, but together there are seven megalithic temples. So, of the three sites heritage sites, one represents all of the temples combined, plus the city of Valletta, and the Hypogeum. Additionally, located at the island of Gozo are the temples rumored to built by the giants.
These Megalithic temples comprise some of the oldest free-standing structures on earth. Older than the pyramids, they are thought to be Goddess Temples for both fertility and transformation as part of a prehistoric culture that appears to be centered around women and the three spheres, heaven, earth, and the underworld as embodied through the pot, house, temple and tomb. We catch the bus and hold tight swerving up narrow inclines twisting and turning above the sea.
When we get to the temple, I am quivering with excitement. We buy tickets, walk through the small but impactful museum, and head outdoors along a windswept path towards the structure which overlooks the Mediterranean. The breeze is slight. Hagar Qim is crowned with a giant white canvas to lessen the impact of the elements. As one approaches her entrance, the tent fades away and all focus turns to the massive rocks shaping what appears to be her portal beyond the giant curved walls. According to Cultural Anthropologist Veronica Veen, we enter the Goddess’ body through her vagina (Pg. 8 The Goddess of Malta).
There is so much to write about here. Both portions of my trip have offered so much in terms of knowledge, blessings, friendship, and collaboration. I’ll bring all this newfound knowledge of Goddesses and the art of many m/others back to the Museum of Motherhood with me. It will certainly inform my work moving forward and I look forward to the future conversations, creativity, and future collaborations this will inspire.
Yours in Love, Light, and M/otherhood. I hope my American friends have a great Memorial Day Weekend – Martha Joy Rose
More about my personal perspectives can be found at my blog: MarthaJoyRose.com