Braids is a multi-media project that speaks to relationship to body, intergenerational trauma, healing and blood memory. This project was a way for me to practice several rituals passed down from my ancestors, through my body. Through the creation of this piece, I created space to honour my ancestors, and attempt to heal trauma inflicted by colonial violence.

Braids are a marker of identity, culture and resilience. When I braid my hair, I am also braiding the hair of all those who came before me. There is a rich history that lives in my hair and was activated from the moment my mother began to weave it together. The act of braiding my hair evokes strength. This familiar action empowers my being so I can manifest survival and revolution for all my future kin. Through this process of transcending blood memory into creation, I am healing myself, and my relations, as well as honoring them. Continuing practices that challenge colonial frameworks and activate survival against colonial violence. 

Braided into seven sections, each strand represents those seven generations before and after me. Colonial violence has disconnected so many of my ancestors and family from our land, culture and community. The strands stretch out like roots and rivers, projecting futures of continued resilience, resurgence and survival. 

Each braid carries powerful medicine, as the strands are hand dyed with strawberries and blackberries. They stretch out into space, offering nodes of healing through touch, as well as hope. The strands are not yet finished, as the journey of healing is one that takes a lifetime.

This piece is a garment that is worn on my head to communicate with ancestor. The copper and telephone wire weaved into the central piece of the garment is to aid in that communication. Through mapping out trauma and healing, through making these vital connections, these reconnections, I am able to navigate this society of white supremacy, patriarchy and oppression in a good way. I am able to access deep knowledge, activate it, and grow my roots strong. Strong enough to ground me, so eradication is impossible.

© 2020 kaya joan