Mavis Muller

What is possible in art, becomes thinkable in life.
- Brian Eno

Burning Basket of Remembrance & Unburdening

September - 2009 - Homer, Alaska

A community interactive, impermanent art experience.

Homer's 6th annual burning basket enactment took place on the beach at the base of the Homer Spit with a backdrop of the Kenai mountains and glaciers.

A band of creatively spirited volunteers spent 6 days creating a large 10'x15' sculpture of an intricately woven basket using locally gathered materials such as wild grass, nettles, fireweed, and branches of alder, birch & spruce

The basket was titled,
SUSTAIN; to keep inexistence, to prolong, support, encourage,
to bear the weight or burden.

The sculpture was created around a center pole which represents 'where life begins'. At the top of the center pole was another woven basket sculpture, created by workshop facilitator, Mavis Muller.

The crowning heart-shaped basket was titled
RE-MEMBER- Basket of Restoration & Reunion

The interactive mission of the top centerpiece basket began 5 months earlier, on March 24, Exxon oil spill day 20 years later, it was installed at Homer's Pratt Museum. The heart-shaped basket was split into 2 halves representing the fractured hearts left in the wake of the Exxon oil spill. All were invited to tie a rainbow colored ribbon on the fractured heart in solidarity for healing of the water, wildlife, cultures, lifestyles and hearts of all that were affected by the oil spill, and for the permanent protection of the coastal plains of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from proposed oil development. The heart basket became covered with hundreds of ribbons. Some ribbons were tied on in a way that joined the 2 halves of the heart creating a rainbow scar.

On day seven, the basket, SUSTAIN & RE-MEMBER was given as a gift to the community. All were invited to interact with the big basket in the theme of remembrance of departed loved ones, remembrance of the oil spill, and releasing of personal burdens.

Near the basket was another interactive collaboration of a circular walking path embellished with natural materials called TRILOGY LABYRINTH. It was created to a large degree by 75 elementary students & teachers from Fireweed Academy, Homer, Alaska.

A third interactive sculpture was present, a 5,000 lb. welded steel and brass gong titled
GONG BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. The creating and installation of the gong sculpture was facilitated by metal artist Doug Schwiesow, Homer, Alaska.

At sundown, the community gathered around, torches were lit, taps was sung, the gong was sounded, and the basket was ignited releasing all the heart felt messages inside and out in the flames and sparks that drifted upward into the starry night sky.

Something has ended. Something has begun.

"This kind of collaborative art reflects truth. Art must show that the world is changeable.
Then art can change it."

- Mavis Muller, workshop facilitator

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Click here to contact Mavis if you are interested in purchasing a 15 minute DVD presentation of this event.

©2007 Mavis Muller
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