Historical ‘Rumblings’: Kyaiyi-stamik Sketch on January 28, 2015

Another beautiful evening at the Rumble House!

Big highlight for me was seeing the positivity in our ‘regular’, Enriquito.  Having slipped on ice last week, he suffers from two fractures, a wrist on one arm and an elbow on the other.  But, instead of complaining or being despondent, Enriquito was out to the Rumble and being very supportive of everyone.  I can’t even believe he offered to carry my stuff four blocks to my car for me.  We paused…facing one another at the time, and then both broke out laughing.  I asked, “Do you see yourself? Good Night, Enriquito!”

From Enriquito's Archives

From Enriquito’s Archives

I like the Rumble because of the diversity of the people who attend.  I encourage you, if you haven’t been out yet, to come down to the Rumble House on Wednesday evenings.  Something about this experience feeds your heart.  I really like it.

Last night, Jess Szabo won my painting at auction.  She’s always been encouraging and has often bid on my work, but never won…last night, finally, she did.  Thanks, Jess!

There’s an immediacy about painting in this setting. Over their shoulders, artists feel the gaze of wandering ‘audience’ members.  Now and then, a question comes out…or a comment made.  Connections are quick, but treasured.  Tonight, my friend, Georgie, from the East Village showed up and like a flash, she was gone again.  Georgie was a little sparkle of magic as I dug deep to find the lines I was searching for. In two hours, something of some substance and creativity needs to be completed and then, like a whirl, that piece of art, swooshes out of your hands…no longer a composition to consider, a problem to resolve, a technique not completely explored or an answer discovered.  It is a swirling whirling lit up moment.

Whenever I have opportunity, I like to share a bit of the history of our First Nations.  I also like to explore the subject in my sketches and paintings.  We can all benefit from learning more about historical references.  It’s a difficult thing to enter into a conversation when you haven’t any knowledge on a subject. I think it’s good for Albertans and Canadians to learn the difference between what is called the Blackfoot Confederacy and the “Blackfoot” People/Siksika Nation.  The following information comes from here.

“The Blackfoot Confederacy or Niitsítapi (meaning “original people;” c.f. Ojibwe: Anishinaabeg and Quinnipiac: Eansketambawg) is the collective name of three First Nations in Alberta and one Native American tribe in Montana. The Blackfoot Confederacy consists of the North Peigan (Aapátohsipikàni), the Blackfeet or South Piegan (Aamsskáápipikani), the Kainai Nation (Káínaa: “Blood”), and the Siksika Nation (“Blackfoot”) or more correctly Siksikáwa (“Blackfoot people”). The South Peigan are located in Montana, and the other three are located in Alberta. Together they call themselves the Niitsítapi (the “Original People”). These groups shared a common language and culture, had treaties of mutual defense, and freely intermarried”

I am first to acknowledge that this is not my narrative to share, but I am filled with a deep sense of reverence for the history of our First Nations.  I think that things, at so many points along our communal time line, went so very wrong.  I abhor every situation that led /leads to injustice cast upon other human beings.

Last evening, I wanted to capture a depiction of Chief Bear Bull or Kyaiyi-stamik.  Unlike many other photographs of the same time period, Edward S. Curtis left the background of this particular photograph; warm and understated.  The photographer’s motives and art leave one steeped in a form of controversy, as do, I suppose, my own sketches, drawings and paintings of these beloved ancestors of our First Nations.  My interest lies, mostly, in the fact that photographers of the day had an insatiable appetite for taking photographs of ceremoniously dressed men, women and children, set before a romanticized back drop of a painted forest landscape including such natural elements as the waterfall and soft light bathing dappled foliage.  I feel a sadness as I consider this. With colonization, home was taken from these peoples, in this case, living on the plains…in the archival efforts of the times, it seems an irony to me that the natural landscape was perversely returned for the purpose of a ‘sitting’.  I’m wondering what my readers think.  While it is a wonderful thing to have these references in existence, I wonder the initial motivation for the production of such an archive.  Much to consider.

A very short audio tape can be accessed here, speaking, in short, about a member of this confederacy, Kayne-ina Bear Bull.  I am left wondering more about Chief Bear Bull as I discover small parts of his personal story through my reading. Such a great man, he must have been, given that he was a carrier of a Medicine Bundle.

While I did not capture the power of the photographic image…I did get a sense of the noble figure.  The piece of wood was 1/2 inch thick.  This made a difference for me.  There were beautiful markings in the wood itself that informed the piece.  To the left of the profile, I included the words from the book, The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler


Jess's Photo

Jess’s Photo

DSC_2073“When Imagination walks, she writes letters to the earth . When she runs, her feet trace postcards to the sun. And when she dances, when she dances, she sends love letters to the stars.”

Photo below of nice guy taking photos…never caught his name, but grateful that he bid on my work.

DSC_2057Thanks, Louise and Elena!  You know I’m excited!

Thanks to Andy…and get better, Jenn.

Some day, Aaron!

Georgie…such a beautiful person!

Paula!!  Finally we meet and I’m gettin’ me one of those caddies!


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