Walk With Our Sisters: Calgary

I sit here eating a hot bowl of hamburger soup for breakfast, nursing a cold that after days, seems to hang in.  The soup is comforting and healing.

There are no photographs on this particular post, but a link, here, for everything you might want to find out.  Calgary’s Walk With Our Sisters memorial installation has been two years in the works (maybe more) and has traveled Canada.  It has just a few more visits and will be retired to Batoche. This stop in Calgary is an amazing opportunity for us to connect with the journey…to think about our sisters who are missing and murdered and to think of their families and friends.  It is important for us to honour their lives and their life force because these sisters remain with us, as long as we remember.

As you will see, there are opportunities for volunteers throughout the coming weeks.  All are welcome.  Orientations are offered, but it was made clear yesterday, at my own orientation,  no volunteer will be turned away.

As most of you know, at the onset of Canada’s 150, I decided that I wanted to embark on a journey of gathering knowledge and understanding about Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.  I didn’t know how to begin.  Sable Sweetgrass hosted an online book club and this peeked my interest, so I began to read along and reflect on the authors and books that we were reading.  It was Sable who told me about the book club at Forest Lawn Public Library, hosted by Indigenous Pride with 12CSI and 12CSI Community Safety Initiative.

I attended my first monthly gathering at the library some time after that, intending to read a book a month, for a year, with a focus on Indigenous authors.  After bonding with this group and having my mind and awareness open up, I decided that I wanted to continue with the group and to enter into my own personal journey with Truth and Reconciliation and the 94 calls to action.  Michelle Robinson has been key in my life as an agent of change and her embrace is assisting me in becoming fearless in this journey.  I can not judge what other Canadians do with the knowledge of Residential Schools or with the initial shock of colonial movement across our nation.  I am responsible, first, to grow in knowledge and then to go forward to be a strong advocate on behalf of our brothers and sisters.

I was invited to volunteer with Walk With Our Sisters and this has also expanded my knowledge.  As a result, I am inviting all of my readers to participate at some level during the weeks ahead.

Last week, a lovely group of women gathered to tie tobacco and I grew new friendships and new knowledge.  I really love the fact that working with our hands created such a warm community feeling.  My mother would have loved it.

Yesterday, I attended an orientation and was blessed by Autumn EagleSpeaker’s clear and welcoming approach. Autumn is a strong woman who is a source of inspiration for these coming days.  It was evident how she has inspired so many others on this journey.  I am grateful for our meeting.  I was further blessed to  meet Christi Belcourt, artist and visionary where this memorial is concerned.  We were given an extended opportunity to preview the work that has been done to this point and to be given more information about the ceremony and protocol involved.

I loved being given the story of the shape of the Calgary installation, with consideration for the two rivers, the elbow, the native plants and medicines and the dress.  The configuration of the vamps has been very specific to each city’s Indigenous peoples along the way, while the vamps themselves represent and include a wide variety of peoples, even expanding beyond international borders.

I am really looking forward to my shift later on today, the final installation shift prior to the Opening Ceremonies tomorrow afternoon, at 2.  I hope my readers will attend.  I hope that you will even extend this to volunteering a few hours, if it is possible.

Just ending this post with a lovely video of Christi describing the world of plants represented in a large painting in acrylic.  Amazing stuff!

Gorilla House LIVE ART Battle: January 9, 2013

Sheesh! The concepts drawn at the wheel of doom were absurd, the strangest combination of unrelated blah blah yet to be struggled with and that is for sure!

First…

“If Nancy Knew What Wearing Green and Yellow on Thursday Meant” by Joe Brainard

From 1963 to 1978, Joe Brainard created more than a hundred works of art that appropriated the classic comic strip character Nancy.

"If Nancy Knew What Wearing Green and Yellow on Thursday Meant" by Joe Brainard

Photo Credit Unknown but located here.

Second…from The Onion, America’s Finest News Source,

Authorities Abandon Search For Missing Girl After Finding Huge Bass While Dredging Lake

Photo Credit Unknown but Located Here

Photo Credit Unknown but Located Here

And finally,  Joan Miro’s Image, The Potato

The Potato by Joan Miro, 1928

The Potato by Joan Miro, 1928

Now…I ask you, what would you do with that?  Quite honestly, at the moment the concepts were drawn, I was more consumed with a conversation shared prior to the spin of the wheel.  I had chatted with a few people about insomnia…my daughter struggles with this and at times, I do as well.  For two nights I hadn’t slept.

This led to a visit about dreams…wakefulness…consciousness and sleep.  It always happens at the Gorilla House (the visits, I mean)  So, when we began to paint, I had to deal with one gentleman’s dream and Miro gave me the entry point for doing this.  The dreamer found himself pulling wiggling worms out of his shoulders and pitching them down on to the ground…a nightmare…the setting, looking at himself in the mirror after having had a shower.  Seeing the worms in the reflection, he pulled them out one at a time.  A question at waking, “Was I really asleep when that happened?”

For the rest, my painting speaks for itself.  It is just so bizarre!  The missing girl…in yellow (no green), left while dredging.  Apparently, it was more important for the authorities to snapple that large bass!  Miro…amorphic shapes, line, text and colour palette.  THE BASS…a fish…unrealistically large in context with the other dream-like figures.

Thanks to Jessica for purchasing the piece at auction.  Just to let you know, Jessica, ashes from a Sweet Grass smudging in my studio were incorporated into the ground.  This painting will be a blessing-painting.  Thanks to Harold for propping up my piece while I snapped a photograph.  Thanks to Karen for a taste of red wine when I had no coin.  Thanks to Kells and Deb for quiet conversation.  Thanks to Jenn for Cadmium Yellow Medium.  And thanks to Bassano del Grotto!  Thanks be to God, for a safe drive home through a blizzard and too many centimeters of snow!  Readers…may you have sweet dreams and know that they have a story for you, if you but take the time to ponder them.

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