The space at EasSide Arts Alliance became a place for acknowledging the act of ritual and worship beginning September 17, with the opening night of “Spiritual Technologies.” In the center of the wide open space, a projector played a scene of hair being braided called Raizes Mapas—Root Maps—by Brazilian artist Helen Salomao, a contribution to the “Spiritual Technologies” exhibit.
The routine of braiding hair, which seems mundane, is actually a ritual, explains curator and Oakland Voices alumna Hannah Moore, aka Cali Cowrie. “Spiritual Technologies” is Moore’s first art exhibit curation. “This whole exhibit is a reflection of my own spiritual process and practice,” Moore says. “It’s how we are in good relation and in good character with the world.”
Reminiscent of getting one’s hair braided the night before picture day in school, the display shows parallels that ritual is the preparation of self for how to be presented to the world.
The small exhibit features four artists: Rafa Black and Helen Salomao of São Paulo; as well as Oakland artists Ave-Ameenah and Shani Ealey. Each artist brings their loose interpretation of a technology that moves their spirit. Included are paintings of tarot cards as representations of spiritual technology for reading the world, and Yoruba renderings called “ori” which translates to “the head,” for perceiving the world.
The display blends into the communal space of EastSide Arts, making visitors look closer at the works of the artists. The exhibit will be on display at Eastside Arts Alliance at 2277 International Boulevard in Oakland though October 22, 2021.