Ancestral Blessings

On 1/11/2563, amidst the energies of the Full Moon, we followed the instructions and guidance of the local Buddhist monk. We were given a silver bowl and incense sticks. The next day we stoped at the street market for yellow flower garlands and red roses.

This is a photo essay about releasing my Father’s ashes into the Maenaam Ping in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

At the local temple, we were greeted by the scent of sweet flower blooms, the yapping of temple dogs, the calm heat of midday.

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Driving up to the headwaters provided nice views of the Northern Thai mountains and some local shops.

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Upon arrival at the river, we were greeted by this lovely bird – peering this way and that.

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Ma and cousins prepared flower petal offerings to be mixed with Pa’s ashes.

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from breath to bones,

blood to water,

these rituals are beautiful ways to honor our beloved dead,

to commemorate a new relationship with them,

and to collectively heal.

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bracelets tied on our wrists by the monk bind us to this memory, connect us

——Experiences such as these, serve as resources for my ongoing work at Aferro Studios. Tapping into deeper understandings of my cultural heritage, learning the nuances of Thai language, engaging with the materials and symbolism of sacred traditions, all fortify my artistic practice. I intersect the endangered practices of paper, print and book making, as a way to support future sustainability of traditional knowledge, cultural heritage and natural resources.

These are the waters of the Ping River, where my ancestors ashes have been released for generations.

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