Category: jetsonorama

spirits in a material world (the lazy stitch show)

May 3, 2018 the show “Lazy Stitch” opened.  Organized by artist Cannupa Hanska Luger the promotional material for the show reads “…

AZY STITCH exhibition opened May 3 at Ent Center for Contemporary Art UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art
Colorado Springs, CO. Organized by Cannupa Hanska Luger with collaborating artists Chip Thomas, Jesse Hazelip, Kali SpitzerKathy Whitman & 1000 Tiny Mirrors. Lazy Stitch is on exhibition through July 21, 2018

Contemporary artists from diverse backgrounds work together in collaboration with artist Cannupa Hanska Luger to present a new exhibition that investigates the interconnectedness of the human story. Through social engagement, public art, monumental sculpture, mural installation, photography, performance and wearable sculptural regalia, Lazy Stitch takes the relationship of the bead and the thread as its context, co-creating narrative about life on this planet.

“What constitutes a bead is the hole. It holds the thread. The voided matter actually creates the function of the object. This void becomes the potential for connection. In this respect, finding value in the relationship between humans acknowledges the importance of intersecting experiences which create a larger narrative.” -Cannupa Hanska Luger

The term lazy stitch describes a sewing methodology often used in Indigenous beadwork. Individual multi-colored beads are threaded and sewn, one row at a time, eventually revealing a complex image when all rows are complete. The lazy stitch is an approach to craft-making, but also represents a value system in which each individual is important to the whole. Lazy Stitch uses this metaphor as a way to explore contemporary issues through collaborative practice, while revealing the potential for collective social agency.”

This past February I spent a weekend with Cannupa, artist Cheyenne Randall and curator Erin Joyce.  It was this time that afforded me the opportunity to learn stories about deities from the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara of North Dakota.  Cannupa gave the framework of the warrior twins Big Medicine and Black Medicine (whom he referred to as “The One Who Checks” and “The One Who Balances”).  For this show he imagined them as spirit guides who returned to the material plane to remind those who know, those who read the signs that it’s time for us to address our environment + social injustices.  Cannupa and Cheyenne spent a day dressed in the regalia Cannupa and his mom, Kathy Whitman made for spirit beings as they went about their day engaging in acts of civil disobedience with the infrastructure of the extractive fossil fuel industry, getting food from a local trading post and getting gas from another trading post.  A day in the life with the hero archetypes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lazy Stitch

tintype photo by kali spitzer with the beaded portrait created by cannupa + various communities collaborating with the project by making clay beads.

 

jesse hazelip pasteups of bomber buffaloes

 

 

decorated ceramic buffalo skulls + barbed wire sculpture by cannupa + jesse

 

rope performance by 1000 tiny mirrors

 

 

the warrior twins battling the extractive fossil fuels industry beast

 

Limited edition (50), hand-pulled screen print “spirits in a material world.”  One hundred percent of sales from the first 25 prints sold (at $50/print) resulted in $1250 being donated to the National Women’s Association of Canada.    They state on their website “…The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has worked for more than four decades to document the systemic violence impacting Indigenous women, girls, their families, and communities. From 2005 to 2010, NWAC’s Sisters In Spirit (SIS) Initiative confirmed 582 cases of missing and/or murdered Indigenous women and girls over a span of twenty years and worked to raise awareness of this human rights issue. ”  The remaining 25 prints will be sold through Justseeds.org.

new screen prints!

 

19 x 25, one color hand pulled screen print on archival paper; edition of 75.  This print was made originally for School of the Americas Border Encuentro 2017.   $50.

 

 

Three Wee Kings …………… Colonialist version

Free Wee Kings …………….Abolitionist version

We Free Kings ……………. Roland Kirk version, 1961

 

2 color, hand pulled, limited edition print of 50 on archival paper.  $50

 

water is life (the full story)

The Dinè nation is rich with oil, natural gas, coal, uranium + water in aquifers.  Yet, as a result of decades of being treated as a colonized nation approximately 25% of the 180,000 people living on the rez don’t have running water (or electricity though more people are getting solar systems).

This new 2 color, 16″ x 25″ hand pulled screen print,  edition of 100 will be used to raise money for Dig Deep, a private California based company bringing water (+ solar energy) to the rez through the Navajo Water Project.  The prints go for $70 including shipping with 100% of funds going to the Navajo Water Project.   If interested, email me at jetsonorama@gmail.com.

Peace.

 

blue light till dawn

 

There’s a new project space that opened in Santa Fe recently called Biocultura.  They had an inaugural event April 23rd where they were one of several organizations to partner with the Smithsonian Institute to recognize Earth Day.  The event at Biocultura Santa Fe was called  Earth Optimism.  As taken from the Smithsonian website:
Earth Optimism at Biocultura Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sunday, April 23, 2017, 5 PM – 7:30 PM MDT, 1505 Agua Fria Street
Earth Optimism Santa Fe connects globally and acts locally to feature the work of artists, students and scientists responding to environmental
challenges and opportunities. Our aim for this event is to celebrate the
systems that keep our soil (and us) healthy. Featuring electronics pioneer Leah Beuchley, LA-based bio artist Mick Lorusso in a collaboration with Joel Ong, artist and designer Catherine Page Harris, Marfa-based artist Elise Sibley Chandler, biologist Renee Bronwyn Johansen and bio art and design students Kaitlin Bryson and Sabrina Islam. The event will also mark the launch of a work by Navajo Nation-based photo muralist and memberof the Justseeds cooperative Chip Thomas. More information under “events”at our website bioculturasantafe.com.
For the mural imagery I spent time with a young Hopi man named Hawthorne Dukepoo and his sister Metzli.  They live with their siblings, maternal grandma and parents on Third Mesa on the Hopi nation.  Though only 18 Hawthorne has been farming in his grandfather’s cornfield since age 12. I think Metzli said she and her twin sister started when they were five.   They’re about 10 now.  The cornfield had gone fallow several years.  Their mom, Lilian, taught him the traditional Hopi farming technique known as dry farming.  The seeds are placed in shallow holes.  During germination the roots burrow down to the water table.
Lilian and her husband manage a permaculture institute on 2nd mesa that focuses on traditional farming techniques, cob building and water harvesting.  In a region of the state considered a food desert their efforts provide healthy alternatives to food options available at local trading posts.  They also run a weekly farmer’s market.
The photo on the side of Biocultura shows Hawthorne preparing his field for planting next month by creating rows of wind blocks using nearby brush.  Metzli is in the background preparing brush for the wind block.
The photo on the front of the house is of Hawthorne holding sweet corn and Hopi red corn.  The woman in the window of one of the images of the front of Biocultura is artist and scientist Andrea Polli who cofounded Biocultura with her partner, artist + architect John Donalds.

climate change and bird migration

full-barn-2

If one were to google “…what is the impact of climate change on bird migration,” one of the first links that comes up is a page by World Migratory Bird Day 2007.    It seems this organization formed in 2007 to bring light to the issue of climate change on bird migration, had their day then dissolved.  However, they created a fact page with 5 immediate changes to migratory birds as a result of climate change.  One of the first things they identify is this…

“One of the major effects of climate change is the loss of habitats. The habitats migratory birds depend on are in danger to change and to disappear due to increasing temperatures, flooding or desertification. Coastal wetland areas that migrating birds use for nesting and foraging are an example. During their migration, birds rely on these areas to provide food and resting places. There they can refuel and repose before continuing their long journeys. Rising sea levels due to climate change cause the flooding of these habitats and they are lost for birds and other animals. Without these stop-over places, the birds have insufficient reserves to continue and have difficulties completing their journeys.”

This past winter I was invited by 516 Arts in Albuquerque to collaborate with an experimental dance troupe.  Our setting for this collaboration would be the only urban bird sanctuary in the southwest, Valle de Oro in Albuquerque.  I was invited to do an installation on the front of an old milk barn where part of a dance performance would be held.

milk-barn

milk-storage-tank

Upon seeing the old milk storage tank I got excited about installing there as well.  I met with the dancers twice – once in April and later in June to photograph them.  I’d wanted my focus for the piece that I created to be climate change related but I wasn’t sure in what way.  Choosing from hundreds of frames of the dancers I was struck by a series of movements performed as a duet.  For me, the three images I chose from the duet are a visual metaphor of our relationship with nature.

kelsey-brian-left-side

In the first panel one questions whether the humans are defending themselves from the birds, shielding their eyes from the too bright sun in the intense heat to better see what’s overhead.  The relationship between humans and nature is uncertain and to some degree unsettling.

kelsey-brian-right-side

Panel 2 suggests that with time and observation a dialog may form.  Communication may occur.

 

milk-tank

And in panel 3 there’s resolution and synchronicity. Although it’s a simplistic view of our dynamic relationship with nature it suggests that through observation over time we develop a better understanding of our connection to nature and the need to preserve it by addressing the root causes of climate change.

 

ensemble-in-front-of-barn

 

Installation
me-installing-1

me-installing-2

brian-passing-first-wall-at-night

brian-capturing-a-sunset

Shout out to Brian Gonnella, my assistant from Pittsburgh, PA for 6 weeks.  He’s seen above capturing one of Albuquerque’s magical sunsets.

up highway 64 towards the entrance of the south rim (at thomasina’s stand)

monica-1

 

jc-+-monica

 

jc-(outside)

It had been a  couple years since I last spent any time with Marley and her mom, Sina in their spot near the Little Colorado River Gorge.  I had a leftover screen print that was one of the posters used to promote the 2014 People’s Climate March (printed by Justseeds artist, Jesse Purcell).  Although Sina wasn’t there, Marley was there with a full crew.  Thanks for a fun hang!

jetsonorama

I called a fellow physician in Tuba City about a month ago to get his guidance.  I had a patient coming down off a several week binge who was open to inpatient rehab.  Despite my being here 28 plus years I wanted to confirm with my friend who has been working on the rez 30 years that despite there being high rates of drug and alcohol use on the reservation there’s still no treatment facilities.  I was hoping the resources had appeared miraculously under my radar.  Sadly, he confirmed that we’ve got new jails in Tuba City and Kayenta to temporarily detain people for public intoxication but no rehabilitation centers. Yet, the Navajo nation and indigenous people in general have one of the highest suicide rates in the country which often occurs under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. It’s a problem that’s been well documented.

“The game of life is hard to play.

I’m going to lose it anyway.

The losing card I’ll someday lay.

So this is all I have to say…

That suicide is painless.

It brings on many changes.

And I can take or leave it if I please.”

MASH theme song by Johnny Mandel

 

Case in point.  I’ve know Josie since shortly after I arrived in 1987.  I’ve taken care of her in her pregnancies, am watching her kids grow up and was with her on that hot, windy day in June of 1994 when she walked down the aisle for the first time, her father at her side while her sister secured her dress.

Josey-Watson's-wedding-(June-94)

When I went to her in 2011 with the idea of photographing her infant daughter JC for a campaign to raise awareness on CO2 emissions she and her husband Hank were there for me.

jc-looking-up-(b+w)

Her oldest son Kordell attended high school in Tuba City.  He competed against my son Jamaal who attended school in Page. Josie and I talked often about how our boys were doing.  She told me that Kordell enjoyed competing against Jamaal who made him play harder, play his best.

Talking with Josie now a year after Kordell shot himself at age 16 it sounds like she could see it coming.  Despite their best efforts Kordell didn’t heed his parents interventions.  Though the reservation is dry, drugs and alcohol are plentiful.  Now it’s Josie’s mission to raise awareness regarding drug and alcohol use while trying to get the tribe to build a rehabilitation center. She realizes the problem is multifaceted – that the education system needs a robust overhaul, after school programs need to be created and sustained, youth centers are needed and meaningful work is missing on the reservation where the unemployment rate hovers around 50%.  Despite the odds she feels it’s what she’s being called to do.  She doesn’t want Kordell’s death to be in vain though 2 other suicides occurred in the family shortly after Kordell’s.  Yet she remains positive.

jc-on-horseback

 

girls-on-horseback

 

1. jc-getting-her-hair-braided

 

2. josey-breastfeeding

 

3.--hands

 

4.--my-girl-jc

 

7.--family-3

 

5.--family-1

 

6.--family-2

There’s work to be done; the struggle continues.  Stay tuned…

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