Solace — to give comfort, especially in times of grief or misfortune — is the “primary motivating offering” of The Solacii, says Black Rock City Honorarium artist Tigre Bailando. Since 2012, thousands of participants at various events such as Burning Man, Envision and Rainbow Serpent have witnessed Tigre’s artistic process develop through large-scale sacred sculpture. All of his works create a relationship between the art and the human. They have an interactive aspect asking the participant to enter the sculpture, to join the piece and to add their own personal energy to it.
Lobo Madre (2013), the wolf mother, was Tigre’s first work at Burning Man. Lobo Madre was a small temple with a large howling wolf mother made of reclaimed wood Tigre salvaged from the streets of Oakland. It was an honoring of the collective wild mother that we all share. On Burn night, the Raised By Wolves Theme Camp lifted Lobo Madre onto a trailer and processed to the burning remnants of the Man where they placed their wolf mother on the flames, creating a perimeter around the sculpture while locking hands. They watched her disappear into the ether as a metal frame of a human child was revealed beneath. His recent sculpture for Rainbow Serpent, Dingo Ma, was the progression of Lobo Madre and a clear transition to his 2017 Burning Man Honorarium installation, The Solacii.
The Solacii is another synthesis of sculpture and sacred space. This 21-foot-tall transdimensional being represents an immortal who watches over all of humanity. The Solacii has witnessed the entirety of human history with deep empathy. It is a being beyond gender, age, and race. It is the sum of humanity, a collective unconscious with a trans-identity. It is all beings. In these tumultuous times, The Solacii has chosen to present itself to us, to connect and offer comfort and perspective. They call out to us to say, “I have seen all of it. I understand. I know another day is coming. There still is hope.”
The body of the Solacii is a beautiful tangle of steel rising up to the cast resin faces and hands, which will glow softly at night. The being is wrapped in a cloak made of white garments collected from the greater community. This dress, ritually sewn by artist Anastazia Louise Aranaga, weaves together the collective stories and histories of humanity and is full of the traces of life from those hand-me-downs. The base of The Solacii holds an intimate interactive space with an abstract soundscape processed with the noises collected from the inside of sculpture. These sounds will be recorded, chopped, stretched, layered and mixed with existing sounds. The new soundscape will transform the energy of the outsider and integrate it into the soul of The Solacii.
Tigre hopes the sculpture will “work as medicine,” transforming participants through their relationships with the project. “That’s why I do it,” Tigre says. He makes art to heal, awaken, affirm, and enable people to accept an aspect of their self. After Burning Man, Tigre would love to bring The Solacii to other communities outside of the playa to offer that same connection, growth and solace.
Tigre and his core crew are now creating the metal body at Bliss Project artist Marco Cochrane’s workshop on Treasure Island. Tigre is hand-sculpting the four faces of The Solacii out of clay to create a mold and then casting those in resin. Check out this video of Tigre sculpting the first face on The Solacii:
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