Come Home, We Are Kin

Sharing with you some of the work resulting from a remote artist residency I have been leading as part of the From Harm to Harmony: Healing the Land, Healing Ourselves. We are presenting a group exhibition at Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre featuring more than 100 pieces by artists across New Brunswick (and some from BC) with varied representation in terms of cultural backgrounds, geographic locations, accessibility needs, and artistic disciplines. With a unified desire to address the environmental emergency, their work aims to change the story of the nature and climate crises from one of despair, worry and loss to one of hope, love and action.

For the Come Home, We Are Kin collaborative text-based installation, music and video production I am sharing here, we led the group through arts-based online sessions where participating artists addressed climate change as a “relationship problem” and reflected upon ways to inspire climate action from a relational approach to ecological restoration. This collaborative ideation process resulted in a sentence or declaration that aims to expose the interconnectedness and interdependence of humans, the natural world and its different ecological systems, inviting people to restore kinship with the land and people as a fundamental principle that will align us around biocentric values.

Each artist in their geographic location created a letter, in the sentence Come Home, We Are Kin, using different artistic mediums including: encaustic, rug hooking, carving, weaving, knitting, embroidery, wool felting and more. The making of each letter and the installation of each piece in a local forest and tree of choice was individually video documented and then edited as one continuous piece using the Ancient Forest Lullaby that we co-created as the accompanying soundtrack.

Come Home – An Ancient Forest Lullaby is the soundtrack of this video that resulted from several online sessions hosted in late 2021 as a collaborative musical piece co-created by passionate artist activists across Canada. The lullaby represents the point of view of the Ancient Mother trees, themselves, as they guide Earth’s children (all humans) through the wise words they wish to share about protecting them. This empathetic creative process began with collaborative lyric-writing sessions, where Laura Barron led participants from BC and NB (including Karine Cormier, Kaitlyn Gillis, Danielle Manuel, Heather Marmura, Clara Shandler, Kristin Singh, Dana Sipos, & Danielle Smith) in narrative and poetic activities which were ultimately woven together into verse form for the lyrics. Victoria-based singer/songwriter, Dana Sipos brings her deeply soulful vocals to this haunting a capella lullaby, composed by Laura. The lyrics are set to a five-layered vocal accompaniment which represents the mycelium (fungi) layer of interconnected communication that occurs beneath the ancient forest’s soil. Each layer includes either a 1,2,3,5, or 8 syllable word from the co-created lyrics. And the b flat minor melody also uses the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 8th notes of its scale. A true team effort throughout, the final product was expertly mixed by producer Ben McClelland, and mastered by Dan Bereza.

Come Home Ancient Forest Lullaby – lyrics

Verse 1
Rest on moss carpet
moist with your sylvan tears
My boughs await
a cradle for your sorrows

Lay still before me
flesh to lychen
and share your breath
with mine

Bridge – 2 x’s
Your solace
Your shelter
Your air
Your muse

Verse 2
Scent of cedar
Hint of tamarack
father and friend

Inhale the rich patina
of our tangled lives
Exhale all you’ve forgotten
Exhale your rooted shame

Come home to you
Come home to me
Truth lives inside us
in symphony

Come home to you
Come home to me
Behold of what comes
from one little seed

Verse 3
Give me your presence
under dappled light
Your face lit by
our same sun

Place your palm gently
on my jagged bark
I am protected by your love
your healing touch

Bridge – 2 x’s
My solace
My shelter
My air
My muse

Verse 4
A melody to mend the cracks
whispers in my branches
Let my rustling voice
sustain you

Your ancestors have listened
The song lives in their bones
Do you recall – the music
also lives in you

Bridge – 2 x’s
Our solace
Our shelter
Our air
Our muse

Come home to you
Come home to me
Truth lives inside us
in symphony

Come home to you
Come home to me
Behold of what comes
from one little seed

To learn more about this project visit:…/healing-the-land…/