In her latest work, Sycorax's Garden, L.A. based artist Candice Lin explores the archetypical figure of the healer. As a multimedia artist, Lin uses sculpture to spark a dialogue which questions stereotypes and challenges socio-political power dynamics- a struggle hundreds of years old.
The 18th Street Arts Center hosts Lin as their current artist in residency, where she leads workshops that investigate "herbal and plant medicine [as well as] gendered relationships to technology, nature, food, and domesticity."
During her most recent workshop, Lin led a group in the construction of plant-based, handcrafted incense. Unlike conventional incense, which is made with essential oils, the artist supplied guests with foraged herbs. The traditional flora was present: white sage, lavender, palo santo, and rose but there was also cinnamon, mugwort, frankincense, benzoin resin and sandalwood- all waiting to be crushed, rolled, and molded into cones and coils through the use of a binding agent like makko powder.
The act of coming together and creating herbal relics is, in itself, a subtle form of resistance towards the ideology that subjugated it in the past. Through her art, Lin defies the empire which attempted to quell the "herb-woman, or witch" and puts the "gendered, racialized figure of the healer" on display for modern audiences to consider.
Candice Lin will lead another free workshop on Saturday, August 29th, 2015 during which she will explore the hormonal properties of plants. She'll also demonstrate how to make herbal smoke blends, decoctions, tinctures and salves. You can register for that event here.
Sycorax's Garden is on display until September 18, 2015 at the 18th Street Arts Center located at 1639 18th Street, Santa Monica CA, 90404.