Ritual Play

Grief and joy walk together

By Emmeli Rolleberg

Ritual Play is about exploring existing rituals for death, burial and the afterlife, and in this search  I found anchors in time and beliefs that resonate with my own artistic practice. It is about reflecting on the human idea of the soul, and my own wish for a spiritual realm. Around the globe religions and rituals have evolved independently of each other yet there are commonalities. Death is universal, and so seems the need for rituals be as well. And ritual objects are our material bridge to come closer to the spiritual realm.

During this project I have created my own ritual objects in a ritual play. Three objects for the past, present and the future, for the mind, body and soul. The urn, the stone and the portal. I am calling them Keeper, Key and Contact. The vessel is the keeper, its mother and carer. Stones are keys to memories and lost connections, to the ones that are gone but not forgotten, and a portal for contact, or perhaps just a glimpse. These objects speak of both grief and joy, eventually everything dies to leave space for new life.

Artist Statement

Throughout history death has been a source of terror and fascination and we are always seeking answers to the unanswerable questions of life and death. I am exploring this tension through working with ceramics. I am interested in the objects used in rituals surrounding death and transformation, and why this need for objects is so strong, when spirituality is beyond the object. I create ceramic objects that reflect my wish for a spiritual realm. I mirror rituals through history and comment on our current relationship with death.

For me the vessel symbolises life, from a mothers womb to fathers tomb. The vessel is earth, its mother and carer, creator and keeper, a final resting place or a ship to the other side. It also has a strong connection with ancestors who carried food and water in ceramic pots, and on some occasions and in some locations, buried their dead in them. Through my ceramic works I am finding ways to be at ease with mortality, to understand the need for rituals, but most importantly, to feel a connection with my spirituality.