Offering is a video piece created by visual artist Leigh Davis, and rooted in her membership with the Threshold Choir, a community of women continuing the ancient tradition of bedside singing to the dying. The video work will be available on this page, and on BRIC's IGTV and YouTube Channel (@BRICBrooklyn) through Oct 4, 2020.
While we are separated from one another, unable to access the grieving traditions normally practiced, this piece is an offering to access and contend with both our personal and collective loss. Research has shown that music, particularly during the bereavement process, is deeply nourishing and can stimulate greater depth, meaning, and connection as we mourn, providing subtle yet profoundly healing shifts in awareness. This video work requests not only reception, but participation, to allow access to emotions, memories, and meditation, while igniting empathy for others’ losses.
The Threshold Choir repertoire draws from many cultures, including mantras from the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Hebrew songs, and melodies that sound like Gregorian chants, but most bedside songs are written by choir members themselves. Created for three or four voices, the songs tend to be spiritual without being religious. They also are not meant to be performed; rather, they are to be encountered organically in an intimate, personal place, where soft melodies offer space for reflection and remembrance.
Grief is a universal human experience and expression of it through wailing and song has always been a sacred part of honoring and remembering the dead. Oral rituals of outward mourning were once a responsibility that often fell to women. Offering continues in that tradition, allowing viewers to contend with the subject of loss in a generative and meaningful way, as well as to practice listening, and to meditate on individual or collective experiences of loss.
ABOUT LEIGH DAVIS
Leigh Davis is an interdisciplinary artist interested in the intersection of culture, community, and memory. Her work has been featured at BRIC, EFA Project Space, Oliver Art Center at CCA (Oakland), and MICA (Baltimore). Recently, Davis created a site-based audio work for the historic chapel at The Green-Wood Cemetery. She is a recipient of numerous awards and grants, including those from The Pollination Project and the New York Department of Cultural Affairs. Davis holds a BFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design, GA, and a MFA from Concordia University, Montreal. She teaches courses at Parsons the New School for Design and works between Brooklyn, NY, and Washington, DC.