ON RITUAL: Mariana Rodrigues

“It is important, in any relationship, to perform rituals - to keep the peace, to keep your feet on the ground, to improve communication. There are rituals for couples to reaffirm their purpose, to contribute their gifts to the community and share the difficulties of others, so that they are not left with their own issues." - excerpt from the book “The Spirit of Intimacy”.

Writer Sobonfu Somé, from Burkina Faso in Africa, explores African ancestral teachings and how they are communicated in the ways we relate to each other in her book "The Spirit of Intimacy". Somé brings the wisdom of West African culture, inviting the reader to delve into the sacred context of human relationships through rituals passed down generations. To achieve well-being, Somé discusses the role of the spirit within our lives.

This was the book recommended to us by artist Mariana Rodrigues when we talked about her paintings. Mariana's work is a reflection of her relationship to her own body and mind, both acting together as two parts of the same unit. In the same way that Somé discusses the importance of rituals for healthy relationships, the role of rituals in Mariana's practice serves as a tool of liberation from purely logical understandings. Her paintings are the result of internal and spiritual revolutions, thus giving way to a process of anti rationalization of the artistic practice itself. Like a dance, the artist creates pictorial and abstract forms through the study of African ancestral rituals, transforming these teachings into large-scale paintings.

The harmony between lines, colors and shapes invites our gaze to travel the perimeters of the canvas, exposing parts of extremely intimate rituals. It is as if we were participating in a ceremony hosted by the artist - an attempt to share her story, her beliefs and the landscapes she saw.

Mariana's practice takes our discussion of rituals further, and so we ask: is the artist's work fundamentally embedded in rituals? Is there a way to divorce one from the other?