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Ansisters Event August 2005


Detail from the performance 'Patterns Outside My Head' by Janine Lewis, Rantebeng Makapan and Bonisile Nxumalo. As part of the FACE Ansisters 2005 event, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.

Copyright © FACE 2005.
All rights reserved.

studio : participants : talitha els



Talitha Els


windearthfirewater ashesgather



Bowl Ritual

With my bowl ritual I chose to honour and celebrate Mother Nature. My bowls were decorated with things found in nature, like seeds, leaves, rocks, grass, flowers etc. These objects can represent so many things and each individual has their own interpretation. Flowers may, for instance, symbolise her beauty, rocks her endurance and seeds the growth, life, regeneration etc. within her.

Within my first bowl I placed the four elements of nature: air, earth, fire and water.

Again this is open for interpretation, but to me the air is our mother's breath, her life - if it ever ceased to exist so will she and everything to which she gives life, including us.

Earth is a symbol of her steadfastness. Fire signify passion and fury, while water is an emotion - it cleanses, calms and renews.

I did not expect to have any deep feelings about or during my bowl ritual, since I was pressed for time because I had so many things to do. In fact, I never even considered that the ritual may have any emotional consequences for me.

But once I started placing the elements of nature into my bowl, the ritual began to feel real – like something spiritual and sacred. By the time I got to the third element, fire, it was as if time stood still while we watched the flames swallow up the bowl.

The accompanying quietness forced my thoughts to mother earth, her splendour and her destruction, and my feelings were bitter-sweet.

I felt honoured, yet at the same time humbled, as I quenched the fire with water (the fourth element) and the smoke curled skywards as if an offering had been accepted.

Posted 30 June 2005,, author: Talitha Els.