Hilma’s Ghost, a feminist artist collective founded by Dannielle Tegeder and Professor Sharmistha Ray, is part of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum’s project the “Aldrich Box.” Each invited artist or collective has created work(s) contained inside an individualized “Aldrich Box,” which will be released on a rolling basis from December 18, 2022 through March 3, 2024. The public will be invited to borrow a box for up to a week. Hilma’s Ghost’s contribution is titled “Enchantments: Bottled Devotionals of Divine Feminine Spirits” and contains 12 glass spell jars each dedicated to a deity, saint, or an artist.
Of their work, Ray and Tegeder note:
“Throughout history, witches have been vilified and condemned for their supernatural powers. Scholarship has since shown that, most of the time, this power was not used malignantly, but in fact to heal. But so feared was the figure of the witch that witch bottles were created as a protective charm against witchcraft and spells. The earliest mention of a witch bottle is from 17th century England. These bottles could be filled with anything from urine, hair or nail clippings, red thread, rosemary, needles, pins, and red wine. They would then, most commonly, be buried. In contemporary times, these witch bottles have morphed into spell jars, which is essentially a physical representation of a spell. These jars can help users claim their power and amplify the energy behind their intentions.”
On December 2, the collective will host a feminist salon about their work. The first half of the salon will focus both on the roots of the spiritual in art history and the making of the Hilma’s Ghost “Aldrich Box,” followed by an activation of the apothecary box by the collective, unleashing its magical potential through the divine channeling of one of the deities, saints, or artists included inside. The second half of the salon will invite participants to create their own spell jar.