The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

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Important Update

Hilma's Ghost: Enchantments: Bottled Devotionals of Divine Feminine Spirits

Aldrich Box: Enchantments: Bottled Devotionals of Divine Feminine Spirits is the final project in this year’s three-part series and will remain on view through June 30, 2024.

The artists, Sharmistha Ray and Dannielle 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.”

An apothecary box with 12 spell jars.

Photo: Gloria Perez

For the Aldrich Box series Hilma’s Ghost created an apothecary box imbued with magick. The box contains 12 bottles. Within these bottles lie the eternal power of the divine feminine. Each bottle is designed as a spell jar and is dedicated to a deity, saint, or an artist and includes a collection of ephemera. Each of these items carry associations with the female personages they represent. When paired with the activations –an invocation, a ritual, and an incantation –the attributes associated with each start to manifest.

The public is invited to check out this box from the Museum or interact with it inside the Museum’s Studio to activate it. An instructional manual is included as a guide. Each of the 12 descriptions are accompanied by a list of attributes, ritual objects, brief historical information, and an incantation on offer to activate.

On Saturday, December 2, 2023, Hilma’s Ghost will hold a 3 hour workshop in the Museum activating their apothecary box.

The Aldrich Box is organized by Chief Curator Amy Smith-Stewart and Director of Education Namulen Bayarsaihan.

En Español

An Introduction to Hilma's Ghost: Enchantments: Bottled Devotionals of Divine Feminine Spirits

Video by Gloria Perez

Artist Bio

Hilma’s Ghost is a feminist artist collective co-founded by Brooklyn-based artists Sharmistha Ray (they/them) and Dannielle Tegeder (she/her). The collective acts as a restorative project that uplifts the voices of women, trans, and nonbinary artists using abstraction and mysticism in their work and makes them visible. The collective makes art collaboratively using divinatory methods, runs programs and workshops with spiritualists for the community, and conducts research on women artists and spiritualist practices that they use in their projects and workshops. To learn more visit or follow their Instagram page at @hilmasghost.

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Top image: Photo: Gloria Perez