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Visit Hill-Stead Museum in CT and tap into the spirit world through art! - Explore with Joan

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

The art collective "Helmas Ghost" celebrates the liberalism of Women and The LGBTQ community in CT this November.

By Joanna Giano

Photo credit: Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, Connecticut, USA. West facade of the main house. Date24 May 2007; Daderot, Wikimedia Commons.

Art and spirituality were on display recently at the French colonial revival estate that sits on 207 acres in Farmington, CT. The Hill-stead Museum is an art center where the exhibition Hilmas Ghost ran until Nov 1.

"Radical Spirits" is named after the 1989 book by Ann Braude. It dives into the relationship between spiritualism and politics, examining how spiritualism was crucial in the political liberation of American women in the 19th century. Women have sought freedom in oppressive society through alternative creative and spiritual practices. They are recreating Braude's "Radical Spirits" for the LGBTQ community and women artists of today.

Dannielle Tegeder and Sharmistha Ray, created the abstract tarot deck from the original Rider and Waite Smith tarot deck- The most popular deck in the western world. The tarots are decorated with different abstract designs that were created through a summons of Helma, using automatism. They took an Abstract lens to the symbolism of the cards to interpret their signs and symbols to generate divinatory meanings that can be unlocked through an interpretation of abstract forms.

The art collective brought the “Radical Spirits” to Connecticut, complementary to the building's designer Theodate Pope and her love of art and spiritualism.

Pope, was one of the first female architects in the United States. She helped build the manor for her father, Alfred Atmore Pope. Throughout their years, they collected an outstanding art hub that is on display to this day. Their collection invites artists from all over the globe to showcase their talent.

Pope enjoyed conjuring spirits while creating art using automatism, the process of creating without conscious control. Hillstead founder and architect Theodate Pope Riddle was a contemporary of Helma Af Klint. Swedish artist, AF Klint was one of the first abstract artists who dabbled in mixing spiritualism and art. She participated in seances with notable mediums and funded psychical research. Her most famous work, “The Ten Largest” was 10 massive abstract paintings created in 1907 through seances with four other women known as, “The five”.

The collective provides free workshops and programs on spiritualism and art to educate and inspire over 6,000 followers. Throughout their research, they aim to elevate ancient and premodern knowledge systems that have been a source of inspiration for women artists.

Joanna Giano is The Voice editor.

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