A Holy Place

Black and White Pyramid. Kofi is inscribed inside the pyramid.

I am Amaqhawekazi Emafini Malamlela(She/They), a Ghanaian-South African multidisciplinary Artist. Welcome to my shrine. As an artist, what influences my work is the deep sense of spirituality, identity and sexuality. 

Dance, Theatre, Performance Art, visual art and sound previously shaped the artwork I created. I am currently interested in exploring ideas of Space-Time and what it is to have a body and ritual as a process of creating sacred spaces. This residency is the opportunity to further experiment with film and how to translate sacred space onto digital platforms. 

This is a sacred space where I will reinvigorate my creative practice, taking a leap on new concepts and digging deeper with research. I will share with you Trumu Fetish, an artwork dedicated to bringing forth a Transgender deity. Trumu Fetish is a multidisciplinary artwork building a world of faithfulness. Visual art is key to the longevity of the belief and the castration of patriarchal symbols. Durational Performance Art: through the body summon the spirit of the deity. And through literature give rise to intimate comprehension.

Please, take a moment and join me as I unpack my creative process with you. You can expect video, text, images and weekly updates throughout this residency. You are welcome to leave comments and questions. Again, welcome to my shrine.

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Building a Shrine

I believe that objects can possess spiritual energy. This umbrella is one of them. It is a Ghanaian Royal Umbrella and made for the kings and Queens. These are not just for shelter from the west African heat but function as symbolism. The artist designs and collaborates with the King/Queen and enriches it with contemporary and specific symbolism. T
The Royal umbrella is handmade with high-grade materials and depicts royal levels to the public.

I was fortunate to find an artist that makes Royal Ceremony umbrellas. The umbrella I have has the spirit of a Queen Mother. It is red with gold fringing. This spirit is present through the experience of building this shrine.

This week I have been changing this umbrella. I am transforming the umbrella into a shrine for the transgender deity I am envisioning. I will share the images at a later stage.

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Anointed Garments

As a way of communicating and accessing divine vitality, anointed Garments become a token, and their symbolism is vital to the experience of creating rituals. It is not only representation but the surface/platform for the divine to be present within the fabric and in this plane. These garments facilitate becoming a vessel for the creation of a brand new universe.

How do I create an anointed garment? Colour is key. Colour communicates various meanings in this process, white is the colour of the garment I am creating. White represents innocence, purity, light and authority. Creating anointed garments requires personal cleansing rituals, prayer/meditation, and the offering of self. As part of this residency, I will become the mediator for a transgender deity, and white is the colour called forth.

I began the process with a collaborator to design and create a garment for the mediator/vessel here on earth. These are the current sketches of the garment. Upon completion, it will be offered to the deity and prayed for.

This Valentino show served as a form of inspiration. These Garments are other worldly. I enjoyed watching this show.

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A living God.

Trumu Fetish
A 6:00min Cut of a 1hr performance
Alt text: A Black body covered in black paint.

A God realised. It was meditation to see the transgender God in space/reality. This is the beginning, where I create rituals for its appearance and movement in space. The black paint represents the Universe, a body that holds the planets and the stars and commands space-time. I understand my body as an integral part of this experience. I am interested in finding out: Am I in a trance as a vessel? How do I create transformation for other transgender bodies? How do I open myself to this present moment? I want to be consumed.

The God is nameless at this point; however, Trumu Fetish is the title for the experience of veneration.

A song by E B U. Listen to this while watching. I have added the lyrics too.

Take me back
To the silky black
The silky black of liquid sap
Slate and stone 
I feel at home
With space to roam 
This feels like home
Solace on a hill
Stones standing still
Standing proud
Out of the ground
Watching me
So take me back
To the silky black
Take me back
To the silky black
Happy to be bound
By the embrace 
Of homeland

Written By - E B U

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Understanding Shrines

West African traditional religions have pantheons of Gods.
Within these pantheons, there is a hierarchy. The supreme being is at the top, followed by deities, the ancestors, human beings, animals, plants and minerals. Our Spirit/Vital force is what connects us. There are not as many temples for the supreme being or the Gods; however, there are shrines dedicated to the specific deity. These Shrines have different purposes, but this is where the deity resides. Each shrine has a caretaker or caretaker and a priest who can communicate directly to and with the deity. We find shrines in mountains, rivers or seas, at the foot of a village or at the residence of a priest/priestess. Offerings of prayer, alcohol, food or money are given to the deity for goodwill, protection or gratitude.

What I find exciting is these enormous Pantheons still have unknown or undocumented deities. It is a platform for research and discussions on transgender deities and their place in Africa’s transgender society. What rituals safeguard and re-energise our vital force and connection to the spiritual universe? How can we hold spaces for those witnessing our transition? These are the questions I am working on.

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Shade of pink background. "A Meditation" at the top of the image. Below 10 Black and White images. A black transgender artist is in all these images. Names of body parts are in white in the middle of the images.
This Is My 2022
Acrylic paint, Sea water on Cotton Canvas. 40cm x 30cm.
Durational performance Art (Video)
Commissioned by Pyramidkofi

“This Is My” is a meditation for the body. A meditation that clearly defines the limits and the boundaries. Understanding these limits creates a space for spiritual exploration and an openness to being a vessel. Trumu Fetish calls for a body that is open to channelling multidimensional forces. These forces lay out a body for transformation; transformative artwork for the sin of patriarchy and masculinity.

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