Acrylic Paintings on Wood with Poetry by LAURALEE K. HARRIS
Nibi ~ Anishinabe Kwewag
Water and the Women of The Original Peoples
Honouring Women ~ Keepers of the Water ~ Heart of her Nation
January 16, 2011 to March 20, 2011
Artist Talk on February 20, 2011 at 2PM
Tom Thomson Art Gallery
Curated by Virginia Eichhorn
"Mamatowisowin defines the methodology used in a quest for vision, where the seeker/artist begins to explore his/her own existence subjectively. By placing ones self into a direct stream of consciousness, the seeker/ the knower / the artist will begin to unfold a greater, inherent understanding of self, by utilizing the methodologies of Mamatowisowin." Willie Ermine, Cree Scholar; First Nations Education in Canada ; The Circle Unfolds
Unlike mainstream art where the end is visualized in the beginning, is meticulously planned out, then executed, the knowledge I know inside does not know where I will land with this creation. I choose the wood for its impression in imagery on my heart, spirit and mindful eye, but I don't know what I will find inside me, or the wood along the way. The painting and poetry just evolve, as my life does like the way the future unfolds. I don't want to limit what I will learn by stopping that flow with a prior mindset. This work is complex as most Anishinabe work is and it finds its footing in the universal flow. I take a deeper step into the unknown every time I resolve to paint on a new piece of wood. I have no preconceived ideas of where each tree will take me, like the way it grows, like nature and the wind but each time, I learn something more about my culture, about myself and about a mother's earth as I flow with, what Kitchie-Manitou ~ The Great Mystery gives me.
"Woman is the centre of the wheel of life. She is the heartbeat of the people. She is not just in the home, but she is the community, she is the Nation."... "The woman is the foundation on which Nations are built. She is the heart of her Nation. If that heart is weak, her people are weak. If her heart is strong and her mind clear, then the nation is strong and knows its purpose. The woman is the centre of everything...It is time for women to pick up their medicine and help heal a troubled world." Art Solomon (Ojibwe Elder) For the People Teachings on The Natural Way; of the sacred role of the women.
Trees grew and I knew nothing of their meaning but for all the water and the many women who would emerge into a solid form, from the tree's original creation. Understanding where I'd been over three years in this series, I was changing past an eclipsing Grandmother Moon, and I would give thanks to her, through the Women of my ancestors, and remember her in the original dream; the original forms, which she gave us in the water, the Earth which are being destroyed in our North. I would remember her in a mother's stories of her women; in Skywoman, Lilawella, White Buffalo Calf Woman. Unlike the women in patriarchal fairy tales I grew up with, that needed saving by valiant Princes, these women were the role models of Anishinabe Women, the heroes who saved their people, and worked together with the animals in a true democracy. I would remember her in a people's prophecies that warned the future generations of this time of poisons. I would remember her in my own grandmother's stories as a role model of heart and generosity. I would remember her in the original dream of who we were meant to be in cultural identity, unity in diversity, determining how strong our roots need to be. I would remember her in my earlier work, inclusive of a past voice, that is still relevant which brought me here. And I would remember her in the Anishinabe Kwewag, her women who are being the targets in our North of which this series is dedicated, to the over 600 missing and murdered Anishinabe Kwewag bringing awareness to the women of the North.
Tom Thomson Art Gallery
840 First Avenue West
Owen Sound, ON
Virginia Eichhorn Director + Curator
519-376-1932 x 223
LauraLee K. Harris