Nice group of people showed up for my art opening last Friday at Karuna Contemplative Living. Thank you friends. Here with the owner, Anandi, and art enthusiast Mark. The show will be up through the end of May.
I chose these particular paintings for this exhibit because they embody the overarching message that weaves throughout my work. That we as a species must reclaim ancestral ways of being in sacred, reciprocal relationship with the earth if we are to ensure a livable planet for future generations and the survival of all species.
This was the inspiration for Resurrection: Holy mother earth with the seed of life nestled in the heart of the web of life. Our current paradigm is cracking open. Transformation, symbolized by the endangered monarch butterflies, is assured. To maintain life on earth, we need the resurrection of indigenous and ancient ways of knowing. Can we remember that we breathe with trees? That everything comes from the Earth?
Indigenous leaders and teachers like Chief Arvol Lookhorse and Robin Wall Kimmerer are telling us that we are at a crossroads. All Nations Tree of Life was inspired during a Lummi Nation ceremony and later reiterated by Chief Arvol Lookinghorse during the indigenous plenary at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 2015. I wept through the entire three-hour session. Their message—red, yellow, black, white—we are all one people. “We must join together as a spiritual community in order to heal Mother Earth.” And again, reading Kimmerer’s inspirational book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Her sacred text was the inspiration for the Reciprocity mandala. She writes: “The path is lined with all the world’s people, in all colors of the medicine wheel—red, white, black, yellow—who understand the choice ahead, who share a vision of respect and reciprocity, of fellowship with the more-than-human world. Men with fire, women with water, to reestablish balance, to renew the world.”
The question is: Are we listening?
My work is a contribution and a prayer toward this transformative vision.
“All Nations Tree of Life” final along with several sketches in my book as I worked through this concept inspired by the wisdom of our indigenous brothers and sisters after attending a Lummi Nation ceremony (During UU Conference at Oregon Convention Center) and the indigenous plenary at the Parliament of the World’s Religions last year. Their message: red, yellow, black, or white–we are all one people (symbolized by the medicine wheel in the heart of the tree). “All Nations. All Faiths. One Prayer” to quote Chief Arvol Lookinghorse, the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. We are at a crossroads and must join together in order to heal Mother Earth and all her creatures, including we two-leggeds. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. Here, DNA weaves throughout the roots of this sacred tree, connecting us as a people even when we aren’t able to see this deeply innate interdependence in daily life.
From top: 1-2. The installation in the PCC community center. 3. View from the mourning wall side, large posters of endangered species hang from the clock sign. 4. Early start on the nature mandala. 5. Altar to the direction of the East, honoring air and winged creatures. 6. Final mandala before dismantling and offering it to the earth in gratitude for the gifts we receive from her. You can see more photos at Sacred Art Studio Facebook page.
Earth Day PCC
I was the featured artist on Earth Day at Portland Community College (PCC), Sylvania Campus in SW Portland. A beautiful day to celebrate Earth Day. Below is the brief introduction to my talk. My vision is to bring this installation to communities around the PNW and beyond. If you or someone you know might be interested in hosting me and this interactive installation “Return to the Garden,” please contact me via my website www.sacredartstudio.net. I can also offer an accompanying workshop which you can also read more about at my site.
“Happy Earth Day. Shouldn’t every day be Earth day? Where we celebrate daily the air we breathe. The water we drink. Clean water. Unlike so many around the world who don’t have safe water to drink. Gratitude for the soil, the seeds, and the sun that grow our food so that we may life. Gratitude for the beauty. Spring. Look at all the gorgeous trees in bloom right now. The birdsong. And gratitude for all the abundance the earth provides for us. Every thing comes from the earth (our clothes, this table, chair, minerals that are in our cell phones and computers). Earth day was first celebrated in 1970. Today, 43 years later, humanity still isn’t doing the job of being good stewards of the creation though I am grateful for the individuals and organizations that are working tirelessly to slow the damage and create new sustainable systems. But, where I think the environmental movement has missed the mark, is in our spiritual connection to the land. As a species, we seem to have forgotten our profound interconnectedness in the web of life. It’s why I believe deeply that the ecological crisis is a spiritual crisis and why we’re also seeing a resurgence of Native American and indigenous ways of knowing returning so that we may remember that the earth is sacred and worthy of our reverence. But I also believe that each of us has this wisdom within us, it is only been forgotten over thousands of years by religions that place a transcendent god above instead of fabric of our every day lives and within the natural world. What is being asked of us today is a merging of the two. A spirituality that is both immanent and transcendent…
My we remember that we are all interconnected in the web of life. May we give ourselves permission to mourn, and may we celebrate the beauty of the Earth, today and every day. And finally, may we harness all our innate creativity to serve the healing of our world.” A. Livingstone
For love of the EARTH