I just have to share a major feel-good story to juice you as you pack and make your way to That Thing in the Desert (or wherever you’re headed during Burn Week).
As some of you may know, Erin Douglas, founder of the Black Burner Project, received an Honorarium to build a major art installation depicting Black people at Burning Man experiencing BLACK JOY. It is called “BLACK! ASÉ” (ah-shay), which in Yoruban means “the power to make things happen through your actions and intentions.”
Early rendering of “BLACK! ASÉ” design, taped to warehouse wall during the build process (Image courtesy of the author; Designed by Francesca Xavier)
This will be a brain-breaking, trailblazing piece depicting BLACK JOY in a way you have never witnessed — if the reactions of everyone who has witnessed its build are any indication.
To learn more about Erin and how she has diligently been widening the path for people of color to come to Black Rock City, make sure to follow her Instagram account. Erin is single-handedly working to attract and then acculturate her followers (nearly 10,000 now), on all the questions a newbie Burner would have, including how to get a ticket, where to find a camp, what the Principles are, and if they will be welcome and safe in Black Rock City.
With “BLACK! ASÉ,” Erin and her crew are not only sending a bold, not-to-be-missed message with the enormity of the 30’ tall photographs of Black Burners in the open playa, but the supporting structure itself is also designed to provide a welcoming space for people of color and their allies to gather for talks, teas, toasts, healing ceremonies and dances. The scaffolding upholding the big images will invite people to climb up inside, find a perch to hang out on, and create an overall environment that facilitates interactions of all sorts.
The importance of this project is obvious, but especially so when you witness how many legendary Burning Man artists and established theme camps have come out from all corners to support this Herculean effort.
Michael Garlington, Petaluma local and Burning Man photographer and sculptor, with Erin Douglas, founder of Black Burner Project and co-designer of “BLACK! ASÉ,” 2022 (Photo courtesy of the author)
This weekend, while artists were bending metal and welding at Marco Cochrane’s warehouse in Petaluma, California, another local Burning Man artist Michael Garlington swung by and sat down to give Erin some pertinent advice. As one of the first artists to …….