18 x 24”
Beiwe is a multimedia prayer on paper, woven together in the depths of grief. It questions lineage, mixed identity and death. The person central to this story is wearing a burial shroud, hiding their face while leaving the heart exposed. Beiwe is one of the many names of the Sámi sun deity, often depicted as a femme or woman. In this image Beiwe’s child moves forward from pain, leaving the past where it must stay and transforming the richness of pain into fertile soil. Beiwe says, “Child, it is time to stop burying yourself.”
The creation of this piece began with the loss of a child who would have carried Sámi teachings forward– a gift that awakened in me the commitment to learning my traditional teachings more than ever before. To be raised in fractured teachings, disconnected from Sápmi– the land, is a type of grief all on its own. Beiwe traces the story from my own birth, the urge to crawl back into the womb and be unborn. To a deathwish I’ve always carried because death is sacred, is when you are closest to the ancestors, when you are home. To a new ending/beginning with the loss of a child– an ancestor reborn. In my mother’s words, “the wind whispered of how they [the child] healed a lineage.” Both self-portrait and ancestral portrait, Beiwe is a promise to stop hiding, to stop burying the ancestors/self, and to know that our ancestors are always with us in the brightest and the most challenging moments. We are never truly alone.