Sacred Spaces with Land Artist Jaime Filipe
I have always felt at home in nature. When I was 11 years old, I was a scout. This allowed me to watch adults making incredible things out of simple natural materials. There are studies that show that if kids don’t have a relationship with nature when they are kids, it probably won’t emerge when they are adults because they are completely disconnected from it. I would always rather go to the top of an isolated mountain than the best hotel to sleep!
What is happing to nature all around the planet; this system that is destroying the globe, turning everything natural into something industrial. My work is related to this, because what is happening makes me very uncomfortable. I feel a huge pressure to say something about it through my work. My first real public piece was a Human Cocoon, which I created for an event held in Ponte de Lima, the oldest village in Portugal and this in turn was where I was invited to the Boom Festival, which in terms of impact is a really incredible collective.
Presenting At Events & Festivals
For my most recent event, the theme was “Shamanism.” I built 4 single cocoons around a tree with an alter inside the circle for the “Sacred Fire.” When I chose the stones for the fire pit, I chose without realising, the very same stones that were used on the last sacred fire there.
I had one piece at the second edition of the BEING Festival in Portugal, it is the festival between Booms. I was given the amazing opportunity to do the entrance installation piece, which turned out to be 16m x 6m. It took one full month to do the piece. I created it 5km away from the site, so it had to be lifted onto a truck and transported there, which was quite breath-taking to watch!
Another time, I was inside a structure I was working on. I was crouched in a hollow under it, filling it with banks of flowers and plants to make patterns. I started to hear this beautiful natural music all around me, the ‘Divine Chorus,’ which is a low frequency that is there all the time, but only with time, in the silence of Nature do you start to notice it. When you start to listen you notice it more.
My most recent installation at Waking Life Festival was based on The Goddess of Fertility- Venus of Willandorf. She is the oldest statue ever found, dating from 28,000 – 25,000 BCE. She looks a little like a female Buddha, with hair in that raised geometric grid pattern. I wanted to create a representation of this energy and incorporate the idea of protection and shelter. Usually I work alone, but I had help from a landscape designer who was also very connected and understood the effect of intentions. On the last days before the festival, there were lots of people who were stressed and this was the place they came to relax and de-stress. They said they got a special feeling there.
When people exhibit at a festival like Boom for example, they know their art will be destroyed. You want to give the people the chance to respect your work. If the wind, rain, or a wave destroys your art, you can be at peace with that. If it’s a man who destroys your piece, it gives you the opportunity not to judge. People become more sensitive at these kinds of festivals, and it gives them the opportunity to feel the vibration of and story behind the art. I love the opportunity to contribute elements like shelter, hope, peace, cooperation of energy, and watch that unfold.
I go with the flow. Sometimes if I make something with an altar, it is a more sensitive piece and better not to touch. Others are to be used. I try to make these stronger, more durable. I did the cocoons for one person and sometimes I was seeing 3 people in them at a time.
One of the first major structures I made, I started by marking a 5m circle and making holes around the diameter, which I started to weave sticks into. After a while the whole structure was kind of suspended in the air. There was a strong wind during the whole process, during the 5 days I was creating the initial structure, so I just allowed the wind to dictate how I would shape the weave, instead of trying to fight against the natural current. It was amazing how, during the month that the installation was there, that the wind changed the shape of the structure, it turned out really beautiful. I would love to have done a time-lapse of this piece as it was quite literally co-created with the wind!
I focus on what is happening on the planet. I would love to organise a Land Art festival to make a beautiful message for nature. I also love and want to go deeper into the shamanic world. I have one invitation, from a connection with someone I met on Vipassana, who would like me to do a more permanent structure on his 400 acres of land where they are going to organise shamanic ceremonies. At this last festival I attended, contacts opened up for Slovakia, Germany and Berlin. This is the beginning of my process. I am just going with the flow of ideas that never stops. I like to vary things. I love to challenge myself with variety by doing things I’ve never done, and all the while allow the structures and projects to grow more complex.
At a typical festival people see the installations for just 4-5 days. I would love to make shamanic ceremony pieces that people can visit any time of the year. Shamanism is the most powerful way to defend nature. I am open to going anywhere to do this.
During the winter I organise mandala workshops that incorporate a mixture of Yoga, mandala making and land art. They are currently held in a beautiful national park in Portugal, but the location for these kind of courses is really quite open. I will probably organise one in September if I’m not away somewhere. Fall is the most beautiful season, with so many colours and an abundance of water, which I like to make my works in or near. I’m available for festivals and co-creations in nature, gardens, parks and public spaces, and workshops. Soon I also plan to take commissions on works that I will deliver internationally. I like to let things just happen. I don’t think about the future or try to force it. There are moments we need to let things just flow.
Painting, sculpture, music, literature and the other arts, it has been said, are considered the repository of a society’s collective memory.
The Toltecs believe that everyone is an Awakened One, but it is the Shamans whose eyes are open to this realization.
I decided to paint women, each one as if they came back from traveling with a key, a revelation, a secret of transformation.