Detroit . Michigan
Sat 29 Sep 2018 . 6p-10p
Remember Our Ancestral Tree . a performance by Nuttaphol Ma
Burnside Farm residents refer to the tallest tree living on their site as “Grandfather Maple”. I’ve only seen photos of Grandpa Maple. One of them stood out. It depicted Grandpa Maple’s presence and how he cared for the land in the midst of debris.
As Thais, we believe that spirits live in old trees like Grandpa Maple. Oftentimes, we wrap cloths around such tree to signify that a spirit inhabits the tree. At other places in Thailand that are facing deforestation, monks respond by ordaining trees residing within the endangered forest. They wrap their orange robe around the trunk of the largest or oldest tree to ward off further cuttings.
On 29 Sep, I shall make a pilgrimage to pay my respect to Grandfather Maple with a performance entitled Remember our Ancestral Tree. At the base of Grandfather Maple I shall perform the act of wrapping a hand-dyed discarded fabric around the sacred tree. The performance will engage with the Burnside community on a meditative journey of remembering our ancestors with simple gestures of writing, mark making and wrapping. In the spirit of healing, the performance concludes with a ritual meal that I shall prepare to honor the tree, the ancestors of this land, and our personal ancestors.
A film screening will follow our communal meal. The film, entitled “Flower Remember Year”, circles around serendipitous conversations that has led me to El Santuario de Chimayo to collect sacred soil from the site to be used to replant a tree that once existed at the back of my parent’s house as a way of making sense of my father’s diminishing health. This tree blossoms fragrant flowers called “dawg jam bee”, which loosely translates to flower . remember . year.