We gather now in a different way

I am hot-wired and beyond sleepless.

I am back home from three days of arts related symposia.  The first symposium was on Indigenous Art in Britain, I learned of this via Rainmaker Gallery in Bristol. I went as a Native artist living in the UK and to find out how and where Indigenous art work is exhibited over here.  Usually in the ‘anthropology’ context and in the past tense.  But this we can change.

The second 2 days were a symposium on Social MakingThe latter had to do with socially engaged art, eg, any artform which involves people and communities in debate, collaboration or social interaction.  Myself and another artist from Moretonhampstead took up two places which were funded by our local art gallery Greenhill Arts.  During these two days, I got some ideas about how I can challenge and change  the story that is still being told over here about Native American people. 

It is time to make our stories visible, to put us back in history and to tell our unfolding now and future stories.  It is time to stitch our selves back into the story.  Some of this I am beginning to do with my Mvskoke Journey and SacRED Threads art work.

These three days were a lot to take in and experience.  I let the days wash over me and certain aspects found a place to dwell within.

I am an introvert by nature and during the lunch break in Bristol, I chose a sack lunch and went out to find a quite place beneath the trees to sit and eat and be for an hour.

Highlights of that day were witnessing a round table discussion between six Native artists, hearing Marla Allison give the keynote talk at the end of the day and then attending the opening of her exhibition Painter From the Desert.   Coll Thrush spoke about collapsing time, the way that landscapes can hold historical trauma and how this trauma can be healed through commemorative acts.  All food for my future pilgrimage to our ancestral Homelands.  I also raised my hand to be counted as one of nine Native people in the largest gathering together in Bristol. 🙂
Radical and subversive re-curations and re-creations
are afoot.  We are putting our people back into the story
through art making and song and writing.
We are making new stories.
Throughout Social Making in Plymouth was the sound of an old fashioned typewriter hooked up to a laptop and fed directly onto social media as the days and hours were minuted.
In fact at both symposia, people’s laptops, phones and tablet were constantly evident.  I don’t engage at that consistent, persistent and insistent level.  I often wonder if screens take people away from what is happening, although I realize that the constant feed of ‘right now’ information is what many people have come to expect.

We gather together in different ways.

I met a Prince and did some of my usual hanging back and observing.

A meeting of Nations. His Serene Highness Prince Freï von Fräähsen zu Lorenzburg and Melinda Schwakhofer. Ambassadress of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Tea break on the steps of Devonport Guildhall, Plymouth.

The waters have broken
Incongruous confluences are being birthed
held in harmony by this artist/midwife’s hands.

Connections and conversations,
a palm full of golden seeds of new ideas.
Butterflies dancing over desert rivers.

Cultivate patience
and allow space.

A night time train journey through NYC
to the corner of 125th and Midnight
with a Queer poetess.
She gave me a key
to open new doors
and to lock others safe tight.

Time collapses and place becomes a collaborator.

We gather now in a different may.

Key to the river journey, 2018.
Ad interim assemblage of bleached & hand painted mulberry bark, drawing of a Mississippian river motif, accordion book page from ‘Little Red Stick : A Mvskoke fairy tale’ photo of the artist, a key and the artist’s hand.

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