Jomeokee, the “Great Guide,” Three Chapters, 0:06:36 min sound video projection, 120” x 15” inkjet print, objects, December 4th - January 19th, 2023. Photo © Alian Rives' StudioThis multimedia artwork delves into the theme of exile, capturing the transient and loss-laden essence associated with it. The series intricately weaves historical and mythical allusions to comment on the enduring impacts of colonialism, evoking a sense of impermanence and the yearning for a homeland or a sense of belonging. By examining the post-colonial aftermath and its role in community displacement, the project underscores the significance of preserving ritualistic traditions as a source of cultural identity for those in exile. Employing materials that may undergo degradation or transformation over time, the series utilizes sequential documentary photographs to symbolize the relentless passage of time and the ephemeral nature of life in exile. The project comprises three scroll photobooks forming part of a larger multimedia composition and a video projection visualizing recorded sounds from the trip.  The images chronicle a pilgrimage-like journey from the Yadkin River to Pilot Mountain, known as the "Great Guide." During colonial times, this mountain served as a guiding landmark for both Native Americans and early European hunters along the North-South path. Originally named "Jomeokee" by the indigenous Saura people [1], meaning the Great Guide, the mountain witnessed successive displacements, first by the Cherokee tribe and later due to European settlers. Regarded as a divine wellspring of inspiration, the mountain attracts seekers on a quest for transcendence and spiritual enlightenment. It stands as a universal symbol of unwavering stability, enduring permanence, and immovability, with its peak representing a state of complete consciousness. In the realm of dreams, a mountain may signify danger, but ascending it symbolizes a journey toward inner enlightenment and elevation. Drawing an analogy between the narrative of Jomeokee and the experience of the Caribbean diaspora, the artwork highlights shared themes of displacement, exile, and spiritual guidance in their respective journeys.
[1] For historical reference consult