Summer is upon us, with temperatures in the 80’s, and thunderstorms roaming around. Earlier in the week our office AC went down, and it is a relief to have it back.
I’m finding I need to have some time outside at the end of the day, an opportunity to reconnect with Nature. I’m grateful for the robin and her brood in residence on our front porch, for the crows in the back field, and for the plants that share their late summer exuberance with us.
I’ve been reading Me Artsy, a book, edited by Drew Hayden Taylor, we picked up in Toronto. Artsy is a collection of essays by Indigenous artists from across many disciplines, each of which addresses the artist’s creative trajectory and way of working. Many of the essays speak to art that is deeply embedded in traditional culture and worldviews, even as it engages in dialog with the world-wide art scene. The artists look beyond the immediate task of creating images, situating themselves and their work in a world that is holy and alive, a world that inspires and nurtures them and their creative endeavors.
Reading this volume is refreshing, reminding me that I am not alone in my desire to make art that engages with the Holy, nor in my belief that our current political situation is dangerous, not just because totalitarianism is on the rise, but because it distracts us from the crucial task of returning to balance with the wider world. I am particularly buoyed by the essay by dancer and choreographer, Santee Smith, who is a member of the Kenien’keha:ka nation, and who insists on placing herself, and us readers, firmly in our bodies in the midst of Creation.
May we join the essayists in this small, profound volume, as they acknowledge their debts to the Ancestors and to the Natural world. May we, too, remember our place in the world, and our connections to Life, and to All That Is.
7 thoughts on “Me Artsy”
Far too much of our culture “distracts us from the crucial task of returning to balance with the wider world” – you hit the nail on it’s proverbial noggin! Talk about a smoke screen…and a million other little, flat screens…like the one I’m staring at right now. I feel like a rebel every time I pick up the violin I’m trying to learn to play or gather my neighbors to sight-sing a Bach chorale…which I do 3 times a week now. Our poor culture needs Artists who work in Actual realms more than ever!
Yes, indeed it does. I would love to listen to the Bach sessions!
I do wonder whether enough people, including me, can come out of our collective stupor to change the course of things. Sure hope so!
I question whether you are really in a stupor, because you are working to help people heal who are affected by our crazy political system of the moment, you are writing and producing art to reach those within your circle of influence, but at the same time recognizing that you, as one of our healers, have an urgent need to keep themselves emotionally and spiritually healthy. As you say, we need to remember our place in our world, find renewal in nature, but at the same time continue to grapple with how to fight against the human destruction that seems to be rising.
Pat, I do not know how to successfully challenge the craziness of the moment. Sometimes I think we are collectively just following our deep nature, playing out our version of population crash. Other times I imagine there might yet be something we can do to change course. As to the stupor, it comes and goes……
I’ve added this to my wish list Michael, it sounds like a wonderful book.
Thank God for the beauty of the earth, and for providing the talents who illuminate it.