Writer and artist Edna Bonhomme chairs a conversation bringing together medical herbalists Sage LaPena and Rasheeqa Ahmad with a guided ancestral meditation by multidisciplinary artist Tabita Rezaire. The talk will focus on land ties, herbalism, and relations to land through ritual and lineage in the context of Indigeneity, as well as diasporic experiences shaped by broader dynamics of displacement and extraction, and ancestry, memory and repair.
Rasheeqa Ahmad (Hedge Herbs) is a herbalist in her community in Walthamstow in north London. She has been practising since 2012, offering treatment with herbal medicine and teaching about its many aspects, alongside a broader mix of work whose aim is connecting us as communities with the potential of this knowledge and craft as a way to develop healthier living systems and relationships. She is inspired by her early involvement with the Radical Herbalism Gathering in exploring how to make plant medicine accessible and restore balance to its practice in the contexts of systemic inequalities and oppressions that are part of our shared histories. Rasheeqa is part of the Community Apothecary in her locality, a CIC that brings community members together around a patchwork of medicinal herb gardens. This project aims to facilitate healing with land care, learning about growing, collectively wildcrafting and making medicines, sharing and celebrating intercultural knowledge and peer support, and seeding the model in other neighbourhoods so that landscapes of healing can be created everywhere.
Edna Bonhomme is a writer, historian of science, and interdisciplinary artist. As a researcher, Edna’s work interrogates contagion, epidemics, and toxicity through decolonial practices and African diaspora worldmaking. A central question of Edna’s work asks: What makes people sick? Edna answers this by exploring the spaces and modalities of care and toxicity that shape the possibility for repair. Edna has written for publications such as Africa is a Country, Al Jazeera, Analyse & Kritik, The Baffler, Der Freitag, The Nation, The New Republic, and more. Edna holds a PhD in the History of Science from Princeton University and a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University. Edna has collaborated on and exhibited multimedia projects at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Galerie im Turm, Display Gallery, HAU Berlin, Savvy Contemporary, and other interdisciplinary spaces.
Sage LaPena is a Wintu (Native American group from the Wintun nation overlapping with California) doctor, herbalist and is certified in traditional fire forest management. For years, she has worked to preserve and pass along Native uses of plant medicines from native and introduced plants and other aspects of Traditional Ecological Knowledge connected to plants in North America. She is the Director of Traditional Ecological Knowledge, a member of Deep Medicine Circle (DMC) is a WOC-led, worker-directed nonprofit organization in Sacramento that is committed to healing the wounds of colonialism through food, medicine, restoration, story and learning, and works as a medical herbalist at Sacramento Native American Health Center Medical.
Tabita Rezaire is a multidisciplinary artist, doula and kundalini yoga teacher based in French Guyana. In her work, she explores the possibilities of decolonial healing through technology. Both offline and online, she considers the prevalent matrix of coloniality and how it affects matters of identity, sexuality, technology, health and spirituality. In 2020, she launched Amakaba, a centre for the “wisdom of the earth, the body and the sky”, a space of healing through Art, Science and Spirituality, combining spiritual and ancestral philosophy with an agroecological cacao farm and yoga space in the Amazonian forest of French Guyana. Tabita has shown her work internationally – Centre Pompidou, Paris; Serpentine London; MoMa NY; New Museum NY; MASP, Sao Paulo; Gropius Bau Berlin; MMOMA Moscow, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; ICA London; V&A London; National Gallery Denmark; The Broad LA; MoCADA NY; Tate Modern London; Museum of Modern Art Paris – and contributed to several Biennales such as the Guangzhou Triennial, Athens Biennale, Kochi Biennale (2018); Performa (2017); and Berlin Biennale (2016).
Tickets are pay what you can, all profits will be donated to Land In Our Names, a grassroots Black-led collective committed to reparations in Britain by connecting land and climate justice with racial justice.
Programmed by Ignota Books and Auto Italia in cooperation with NTS Radio. The programme has been made possible with the support of Goethe Institut London, Canada House and Art Fund.