Rhonda Wheatley


Focus/Meditation Piece. Devours and Transmutes Negative Energy That’s Ready to be Released. For Self Use Only., 8.5x8x4 inches, Found object, barnacle shell cluster, driftwood, shed snakeskin, polymer clay, hand-cut paper, acrylic, modeling paste

I create power objects imbued with healing intent and energy. Each object is also attuned to the combined symbolic meanings of my materials, which include found objects, ceramics, crystals, hand-cut paper, and organic objects—from driftwood and snakeskin sheddings to herbs and preserved lichen. I use titles to address the function of the works as contemporary artifacts, rather than ‘art objects,’ and reveal how they have been used in spiritual practice prior to the exhibition. Metaphysics and spiritual traditions across African, African diasporic, Native American, and other cultures inform my work.

My decision to create power objects is connected to my history with the healthcare industry. Beginning in childhood, I experienced difficulties finding answers to my health issues, whether doctors and other adults didn’t know or seek answers, whether they didn’t take me seriously, or whether my health insurance just ran out at an inopportune time. It became a pattern, throughout my youth and young adulthood. But this pattern had a purpose: It cultivated within me a drive to find my own solutions. This pattern shaped my empowered approach to wellness, whereby I use and recommend to others herbal remedies and alternative, holistic approaches to healing; tune in to my dreams and subtle inner guidance for answers; meditate and use visualization; practice several energy-based healing modalities; and keep a personal journal.

I am exhibiting several of my journal pages with entries throughout the years alongside the power objects, for journaling is critical to my overall well-being while the content provides a glimpse into my interior life as the healer-artist behind the objects.