The culmination of project e-ma is the burning of the e-ma. There are many reasons this takes place, but here are a few of the main ones:
Why are e-ma burnt?
i) In Japan e-ma are 'purified' (burnt) once a year so that a new hope can be conceived,
ii) As hope is an ever-evolving idea, so any research which explores notions of hope should, arguably, allow for recording this ongoing change,
iii) This research uses Participatory Action Research (PAR) as it's methodology, one of the core tenets of which is an on-going, cyclical approach to research,
iv) By having a chance to re-think one's hope it is anticipated that the questioning and consideration of hope may become an integral part of participants' lives; something which is especially important in marginalised or deprived communities where hope is probably not a daily consideration,
v) Burning allows the past to be let go, something which is especially important in Belfast. By committing your hope to the ether; to the Ultimate Void, you are letting your attachment to the material e-ma be replaced by a more ethereal attachment to a) the idea of hope you painted, b) the possibility that it may come true, and c) the idea of ushering in the future; moving away from the past.
The 165 e-ma we have from the first round of painting were burnt at the Donegall Pass kids' bonfire event which took place on July 11th 2015 in the Pass. To see photos click the links below