PERPETUAL FLOWERING FLOWER ESSENCE COMMUNITY WORKSHOP
EDGAR FABIÁN FRÍAS
I had my first museum solo show, “Perpetual Flowering,” at Vincent Price Art Museum and was invited by Director Pilar Tompkins Rivas to host a public event to accompany it. As a part of the process of developing my solo show, I had the honor of collaborating with herbalist and artist Saewon Oh. Together, we created a flower essence potion, in ceremony, working with rue, chickweed, and datura.
Once completed, this ESSENCE potion was placed at the entrance of my installation for “Perpetual Flowering” and visitors were invited to ingest it as part of their experience of the exhibition. In order to invite people into the process of creating flower essences, I decided that the public programming would be an interactive ceremonial workshop within the third floor public programming space in the museum. It lasted an hour and a half and was a part of the closing events for “Perpetual Flowering” and artist York Chang’s solo show “The Signal and the Noise.”
The ceremony began with a guided meditation and visualization working with the ESSENCE potion. This was meant to act as a medium to help people get mindful and connect with themselves and with the plant spirits. During the visualization, attendees were asked to think of something they were needing at the moment and something they were willing to offer up to the collective. After this, I led a ceremony where each individual imbued their intentions into a glass bowl of mountain spring water I had previously charged with a vogel quartz crystal, chamomile flowers, and eucalyptus leaves. The process of imbuing this water with the groups’ intentions created a collectively charged essence that all in attendance were able to take home with them to work with in the privacy of their own home.
This event was especially important as it was the first time that my parents have ever attended a metaphysical event I was leading. I grew up Jehovah’s Witness and spirituality has been a deeply generative and traumatic part of our shared past. The development of my own form of queer, indigenous, and animistic spirituality has historically been a topic of both fascination and concern for them. Understandably, both my parents were nervous at first, but thanks to the power found in our connection, mindfulness, and medicine of the plant allies, they were both able to participate beautifully in the ceremony.