Rituals for Renewal invited artists living or working on Gadigal Country to share a series of reflections and gestures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Having undergone a collective period of isolation and introspection, where previous ways were called into question, the project considered how rituals might help us to re-imagine ourselves, our communities and our world.

Unfolding on the Instagram account @ritualsforrenewal from August to December 2020, artists were invited to participate and in turn were encouraged to nominate another artist to take part and deepen the collective reservoir of thought.

Curated by Tian Zhang @tianzhanggg

Rituals for Renewal was created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people. We pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge their ongoing custodianship of land and culture, from time immemorial into the future.

The project was supported by the City of Sydney.

Nicole Monks

Since time immemorial Aboriginal people have been the continuing custodians of this country now known as Australia. This land, its oceans and skies, and miyarnu* have provided everything.

These natural elements hold sacred knowledge and we too are made up of the same, this knowledge penetrates everything we know today and radiates energy from the beginning of time.

The intention for my Rituals for Renewal posts is to slow down, make space and remember this innate connection and interconnection to Country.

*miyarnu - Knowing (Wajarri)

  • Slowing down and watching a child connect with the world, warms the softest spaces of my heart. This intergenerational artwork with my son Bidi-Bidi was made on Warrain Beach from gathering shells and seaweed we found along our walk. After we made the work, we wonder how many days it might last, was it the ocean that would reclaimed its belongings, or the sand, or the wind or all of them interconnected?.

    We acknowledge the local South Coast mob, the continuing custodians of the land on which this artwork was created.

  • The grinding stone is a commonly used tool by our ancestors to mill, grind and pound bulbs, berries, seeds and ochre.

    Working the rocks surfaces together until we find the sweet spot in the palm of the hand, this circular repetitive action evokes memories that are interwoven within our bones, and as we listened we wondered was it the rock making the sound, the sand or the echo in between...

    We acknowledge the local South Coast mob, the continuing custodians of the land on which this artwork was created.

  • Connecting to place and space Feeling the textures, the weight, the balance and the everything of nothingness

    Is it possible to create a portal to new ways of understanding the world...

    As we balanced the rock on the burnt sticks to create a void we wondered does the space exist because we create it or had it always existed right there in front of us?

    We acknowledge the local South Coast mob, the continuing custodians of the land on which this artwork was created.

Sab D'Souza

What difficult feelings arise as we meet upon the common ground?

What contexts, narratives and histories are carried into social media through the very act of treading?

This ground, like all digital spaces, is not neutral. It is neither static, nor liminal. It is not a third space. This ground is tethered to its history. As routers connect us to a myriad of global networks, so too do they speak back to the land from which we access it. Entangled with the ongoing colonial histories that shape us and our digital infrastructures.

It is here, as a settler invader, living & working on Gadigial land, I hold these complexities to account. I acknowledge that this ground is not always safe. Nor is it inherently a network of care or mutual aid. It is not a replacement for community. It is not everyone’s medium.

But it is mine.

So, I’ll share how emergent digital communities can be better understood through acts of feeling— online. I want to remind us of the painful tensions that arise when we attempt to be together. I wanna remember that joy doesn't negate pain. I want to see the little x at the end of a text message as a gift and not an ending. This ritual is non-exhaustive, unsettled and in flux.

  • The common ground, the basis for my work/ritual/research this week, is derived from Ahmed & Fortier’s Re-imagining Communities. I think it unsettles a lot of the issues present with our new reliance on digital media as a type of community.

    Arts orgs / galleries / artists need to carefully examine how they devise and transform their ~digital~ content rn. This push towards live talks/streams in replacement of events does not fulfil the affective role that they would have otherwise served their cohort (not community).

    This pandemic has shifted many arts ecologies online, facilitating access to talks, lectures, and cultural content that probably should have already been available through these mediums.

    Still, there is necessary & vital work to be done on art that intersects with digital platforms, on how it employs, and relies on digital infrastructures (Think Facebook Live or this Instagram account) which ultimately serve to perpetuate their role in US global imperialism. What would a collective of people look like outside of these frameworks? How do these infrastructures impact the way we get together right now?

  • Difficult Feelings, The Black Square & Instagram

    I associate the notion of rituals with that of intentional action. Being mindful of the way our bodies move in certain spaces, of comfort and ease. At the same time, I consider how these ideas might permeate into our digital movements and encounters online. This video essay considers the ways non-Bla(c)k people centre our feelings in anti-racist work, using the events of #BlackOutTuesday as a digital case study. It is not a critique of the digital action, or Bla(c)kLivesMatter, but rather a way to consider how our (non-Bla(c)k) emotions reflect colonial narratives and restage themselves online.

    This video is captioned and a full transcript is available here.

  • As promised, here’s a further reading list based off of references from my IGTV video essay. I’d highly recommend Rowe & Royster’s journal introduction which touches on a lot of different theorists work on affective communities/emotions in justice movements, though it’s US focused. But it’s short! You can find some but not all in the linktree in this accounts bio.

    Also this is my last little ~ritual~ for this digital residency.

Ohni Blu

Right now there is a global pandemic happening. A world wide health crisis. Chronically ill and disabled people have unique perceptions of this time based on enduring our own ongoing health crises. Our voices and lives are often ignored and erased so I choose to platform them in this space. 💛

  • A chance to play

Make or Break

This year we made a project about bridges on the other side of the world, and we’ve been trying to make bridges to it since. To connect with it, draw it out, make it mean something. To create connections between continents and languages, and engage with strangers when we can’t be face to face, share a cuppa, share silence.

For Rituals for Renewal, we’re starting a daily ritual that is small, contained and introspective. It’s a way of examining that project, but no longer trying to cast a web across the world. Seeing what happens when we build things with materials and objects close to hand, and use this as a way of thinking from the inside out.

This ritual is an antidote to making work we cannot see or touch; a return to using our hands for something other than typing emails. We will be making, thinking and posting from the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation, and the Burramattagal people of the Darug Nation. We acknowledge their ongoing practices of making, thinking and sharing on, of and with these lands, with an awareness that we are beneficiaries of the ongoing colonial project.

The thoughts we share here have their roots in the project @careforbridges.

  • Bridge 1

    I am coiled, around myself. Always surrounded by myself. It can be suffocating. My fibres nano-hard, angular, scratching, rubbing; my whole flexible, pliant, they even call me 'soft'. Slid between others like me, I can feel myself crawled along spines, so long that I forget where I end and begin. I am pushed against bones, books, pulled into knots, veiled, staring up through skirts, or your pant leg. I recoil.

  • I am makeshift, provisional, impermanent. A conglomerate of things that would never come into contact, except to form this temporary structure in space. Parts of me have seen the sharp edge of a blade, the bristles of a paintbrush, the inside of a dog’s mouth. Now the oily pads of fingers, walking, tickling, marking space and time. I hold fast but am tethered to my own precarity. I am bridge as obstacle, not thoroughfare. I am a reminder –

    That the easiest way is not always the best.

    That there are always unseen things to be crossed over or connected.

    That climbing up and then down again is one way to gain perspective.

  • I'd like to try turning an idea into something using my hands, but 2 hands are needed and that leaves... no hands to film it.

    I am at home, as we have all been over these past months, but it feels rare and special to be alone now, in a way that I never appreciated. And hard to be alone in a way that I so often ignored.

    I try to nestle my phone in the hollow between my chin and clavicle. It keeps sliding. You watch it slip; you watch me slip. I keep catching it. Maybe this isn't going to work. And then, just like that, it holds.

    My hands move quickly, working towards each other; this is the moment I have to act, and who knows how many more of these moments there will be, or how long they may last?

    This would be so much easier with more than 2 hands.

  • If a bridge is anything formed to ease passage over a drop, a dip or a potential fall, then bridges are everywhere. A spider’s web is a series of bridges - but also a home, and a trap. I’m on a friend’s deck and gum leaves have fallen across gaps in the boards. Gentle, temporary bridges across tiny abysses. Just under a year ago the leaves here were all black and charred, or ash-soft and grey. Today the colours are back, there is a cool breeze, and things feel held – suspended – at least for now.

  • A scent carries you, stretching your fibres, tugging at your veins, spanning a bridge between moments, memories. Elaborate architectures spring up on either side.

    I am riding - or walking - and that bridge reaches out to me from the sweat behind my knees, a hidden backyard or the shadowy drapery of a back alley fence. I am taken, splayed across multitudes... across times and locations and associations all at once.

    It is heavy, drunken, thick with possibility and promise.

    I bury my face in it when I can. And I remember.

  • I’m replacing curtains with blinds at my grandmother’s flat. The first step is removing the reeded hardwood curtain rods, dusty and dry but straight and true after decades spanning the threshold between inside and out. Outside it’s getting too hot, too bright, and inside it’s full of buttons and half-made things and dust, so much dust.

    She tells me it’s been too long between hugs; she knows the risks and doesn’t care.


In life there are human beings that are created as ONE physical entity with TWO spirits living inside...

Let’s see the journey and evolution of my feminine spirit during the year of 2020...

  • Two Spirits 👣 One Entity 2020

  • Two Spirits 👣 One Entity 2020 MURRI-GARMBI (Man-Woman)

  • Two Spirits 👣 One Entity 2020 The birthing of Lenny & Sarah

  • Two Spirits 👣 One Entity 2020 Murri-Garmbi

  • Two Spirits 👣 One Entity 2020 Ascending to align

  • Two Spirits 👣 One Entity 2020

Harry Bonifacio Baughan

Recently, we've seen actually how fragile this world is. New cracks are appearing in the (capitalist/settler-colonial) facade, through which we can see small glimpses of another world. What role will we play cultivating their growth? It's important to have faith in them the same way we know a small sprout can one day be infallible old growth. We all have a role to play, and we can't afford to lose hope.

  • Everything must come to an end.

    I've always had trouble envisioning the future, but spending time each day sketching a clear picture of one I'd like to see everyday is helping me ground myself and face the right direction. Around where I live, I see kids running through the broken fences of different blocks without a care. I'd love to see the red brick apartment blocks free to flourish. I'm just about to finish up a Horticulture apprenticeship because I have a friend who dreams of reclaiming and healing his land, and another who wants to feed their neighbourhood. To be honest, I'd love to see these fences rid of entirely so we can grow fresh fruit and vegetables for all the kids on the block. While that might not be in the immediate future, I know at the very least I'm sharpening my skills and gaining the tools to plant those seeds. I wonder what might grow out of the ruins.

  • God gives us what we can handle.

    I wish these past few months was a period of quiet meditation, but for many people (including myself), I know it wasn't. I spent a lot of time wrestling with God and struggling with my demons. Many I realised had been haunting me for years. But I've also learnt to meet reality on it's own terms and see things plainly for what they are. I've become aware of my own need for a strong foundation, a firm core and roots that run deep enough to weather a storm. I didn't get the period of quiet meditation I was hoping for, but nothing is really promised to us is it? Regardless, I'm determined to regain my footing and turn this hard-earned, newfound awareness into embodied change. The realisation I keep returning to is that we rarely are afforded the luxury of quiet study - we've got to learn on our feet.

  • Life is hard, so do I have to be hard too?

    I'm trying to pray every night before I sleep. I've been trying to read the Bible again. I've been trying to be stubborn in my belief that none of this is permanent. I've been trying to renew heart in a world that threatens to slowly erode yours away. I've been listening to sermons while I work out on my bedroom floor. It might be some weird way of embodying spiritual growth or it might be a self-punishing ideal that Filipino Catholics can be known for. I wish I could say I was devout, or faithful, or committed to spiritual practice. The truth is I'm not. But having faith, I'm realising, is knowing in your heart the truth - that love and justice do bind us together; that everyone has intrinsic, untouchable value; and that one day, the artifice built to disrespect this must crumble away. Everyday I water a fledgling plant knowing one day it will grow into a tree with a large, strong trunk - one that I hope will outlive me and provide fruit long after I'm gone.

Nadeena Dixon

  • Be happy

  • Ritual for connecting to change

  • Seasons of Change

  • Find the Extraordinary in the Ordinary & Be curious like a Possum

  • Feelin Fruity

  • A ritual for curiosity (aka - Lessons from a fruit bat)

  • Curiously possum

  • Play

  • Ritual for honouring play

  • Game on

  • Wanna play

  • Water rituals

  • Playtime

  • A blessing for water

  • Water

  • How to bless your water ritual

  • Shark loves water

  • Seasons

  • Seasons & Cycles

  • Cyclic energies