Ghost Dance

Ghost Dance is a merger of the past and the present. Lessons lost in history now repeat in cast, geographical proximity and deeds.  This work is light filled and prisms out the circular movement known as the Ghost Dance (Natdia) a spiritual movement that came about in the late 1880s when conditions were bad on Indian reservations and Native Americans needed something to give them hope. This movement found its origin in a Paiute Indian named Wovoka, who announced that he was the messiah come to earth to prepare the Indians for their salvation. 

The movement began with a dream by Wovoka, a Northern Paiute, during the solar eclipse on January 1, 1889. He claimed that, in his dream, he was taken into the spirit world and saw all Native Americans being taken up into the sky and the Earth opening up to swallow all Whites and to revert back to its natural state. The Native Americans, along with their ancestors, were put back upon the earth to live in peace. He also claimed that he was shown that, by dancing the round-dance continuously, the dream would become a reality and the participants would enjoy the new Earth.

 His teachings followed a previous Paiute tradition predicting a Paiute renaissance. Varying somewhat, it contained much Christian doctrine. He also told them to remain peaceful and keep the reason for the dance secret from the Whites. Wovoka's message spread quickly to other Native American peoples and soon many of them were fully dedicated to the movement. Representatives from tribes all over the nation came to Nevada to meet with Wovoka and learn to dance the Ghost Dance and to sing Ghost Dance songs.

 The dance as told by Wovoka went something like this: "When you get home you must begin a dance and continue for five days. Dance for four successive nights, and on the last night continue dancing until the morning of the fifth day, when all must bathe in the river and then return to their homes. You must all do this in the same way. ...I want you to dance every six weeks. Make a feast at the dance and have food that everybody may eat."

 The Natdia, it was claimed, would bring about renewal of the native society and decline in the influence of the Whites. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) agents grew disturbed when they became aware that so many Indians were coming together and participating in a new and unknown event.

 In early October, 1890, Kicking Bear, a Minneconjou Sioux Indian, visited Sitting Bull at Standing Rock telling him of his visit to Wovoka. They told him of the great number of other Indians who were there as well, referring to Wovoka as the Christ. And they told him of the prophecy that the next spring, when the grass was high, the earth would be covered with new soil and bury all the white men. The new soil would be covered with sweet grass, running water and trees and the great herds of buffalo and wild horses would return.

All Indians who danced the Ghost Dance would be taken up into the air and suspended there while the new earth was being laid down. Then they would be returned to the earth along with the ghosts of their ancestors.

 When the dance spread to the Lakota, the BIA agents became alarmed. They claimed that the Lakota developed a militaristic approach to the dance and began making "ghost shirts" they thought would protect them from bullets. They also spoke openly about why they were dancing. The BIA agent in charge of the Lakota eventually sent the tribal police to arrest Sitting Bull, a leader respected among the Dakota, to force him to stop the dance. In the struggle that followed, Sitting Bull was killed along with a number of policemen. A small detachment of cavalry eventually rescued the remaining policemen.

Following the killing of Sitting Bull, the United States sent the Seventh Cavalry to "disarm the Lakota and take control." During the events that followed, now known as the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890, 457 U.S. soldiers opened fire upon the Sioux killing more than 200 of them. The Ghost Dance reached its peak just before the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890.

 When it became apparent that ghost shirts did not protect from bullets and the expected resurrection did not happen, most former believers quit the Ghost Dance. Wovoka, disturbed by the death threats and disappointed with the many reinterpretations of his vision, gave up his public speaking. However, he remained well-respected among his followers and continued his religious activities. He traveled and received visitors until the end of his life in 1932. There are still members of the religious movement today.

Believers in the Ghost Dance spirituality are convinced that performing the Ghost Dance will eventually reunite them with their ancestors coming by railway from the spirit world. The ancestor spirits, including the spirit of Jesus, are called upon to heal the sick and to help protect Mother Earth. Meanwhile, the world will return to a primordial state of natural beauty, opening up to swallow up all other people (those who do not have a strong spirituality based upon the earth). The performers of the Ghost Dance theoretically will float in safety above with their ancestors, family, and peoples of the world who follow the extensive spirituality.

 

Ubi Caritas

… narrative  

Ubi Caritas came as an instantaneous vision. An image from song conceived and relevant in context. With birth it interjected process. It tendered a missive.

Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est. Wherever we find true charity, God is there. In volatile periods of conflict and battle, in the utmost instances of evil and horror; charity enters, God is there.

Ubi Caritas et amor Deus ibi est. Where charitable acts and love are genuine in that moment, God is there. In the simplest behaviors and in tranquility, whenever true charity and love is extend to another, God is there. 

The composition of Ubi Caritas began with five figures their divisions unto themselves with geometric planes angled to peak. On top of darkness, the protagonist is on her back, vibrant in color, helpless is form. Two figures distend on the left and two figures on the right. On the right serene figures of charity transcend, arms extended wide offering aide. Soaring down on the left, champions enter posed to uplift, representational of love.

In process a sixth figure entered, composition center. Not perfectly contrived nor clearly conceived. Somehow in that imperfection, God is there.

Broken Treaties

… narrative  

Broken Treaties is historic and modern-day.

For centuries treaties have defined the relationship between Native American people, their nations and the United States. Over 500 treaties were made with American Indian Tribes, primarily for land acquisitions, and 500 treaties were also broken, changed, or nullified when it served the government’s interest.

This work depicts the land runs that revoked Native American territory given to them by the U.S. government after they were forced from their ancestral homelands. The “land rush” opened tribal lands for settlers to homestead based on a first arrival basis.

The composition of Broken Treaties contains six horses charging and four figures invaded. They are splintered by themselves, the stampede and one another. The work’s four figures embody a Witness, a Refugee, a Demonstrator and a Deity.

The Witness arises in the upper left corner perched above the incident; shoulder to hand elevated.  The Refugee evacuates mid composition looking back at her intruder as she sprints forward. The Demonstrator; a male figure, squats at the bottom of the work. Eyes up, he extends one arm and hand with pointer finger ascending. His other hand treads downward to fist. Potently he proclaims the injustice.

The Deity; their Great Spirit, surges from the scene in serenity and grace. Her face identifiable and lovely. She envelops the pilfering and enfolds the chaos within her limbs.

Broken Treaties is pertinent now. Modern nations are calling for the elimination and restriction of immigration and refugees. At this same moment political groups, movements and governments are coming to cause the flight of populations from their native and ancestral lands.  Broken Treaties recounts the first immigrants and refugees in the United States; the “colonists”, whom themselves escaped tyranny and religious persecution crudely to impose it on Native American tribes and nations. Repeatedly posing and rescinding treaties usurping native’s land, destroying their lives, resources and culture.  

Brin de Nostalgie

…narrative

 Brin de Nostalgie exists as an instantaneous visceral response to the November 13, 2015 terror attacks upon Paris. The painting bids the public to linger with a trace of nostalgia in favor of the conventional beauty and grace of Paris as it resonates in the city’s soul confirmed by its’ unparalleled monuments, architecture, music, art and citizens.

The composition; divided in architectural planes mimicking the Eiffel Tower, contains eight people overlapped and dissected by themselves and one another. Grappling hands and feet ascend animating compound emotions. The figures interact interwoven with their own shadows grounding the chaos and resurrection to a real space and time.

The structural foundation of the underlying Eiffel Tower conducts the viewer from the darker turmoil spinning underneath to the colorful higher layers of beauty ever present and still remaining. Brin de Nostalgie transcends horror to splendor.  It counters atrocity with the beauty of Paris as disclosed in the fragmented form of Degas’s ballerinas whom arise from bedlam to coexist with Van Gogh’s Almond Blossoms, the blossoms that once hung in the Paris nursery of his nephew and Godchild, Vincent.

 

l’ ame de la femme

…narrative

 l’ame de la femme forges into the complex layers of female beauty to examine, embrace and extract the inner magnificence of women.

The composition contains the layering of the fragmentation of twelve female figures upon one another. The plane is of figural division constituted within a series of spheres. The circular spiral motion reinforces the extraction of the superficial stratums. 

The interior’s intangible shapes and forms are bottomless in color. The fused shapes blossom as the soul undoes and extends. Multitudes of hands, feet, fingers and toes some perceptible; many ghostlike, extend out of the creation tugging as recognizable configurations emphasizing the unfolding.

Shadows appear within the layers emerging as solid real space, a refuge in the unfamiliar setting.

Procession of 172 Souls

…narrative

Procession is a subject that I have painted before. One that I will paint again. Through each work I endeavor to better convey the energy and atmosphere following the atrocity. The Procession of 172 Souls to Heaven unveils a peace and beauty that outlives barbarity. 

It is my second visualization of the ether as innocence passes after the loss of lives caused by an act of terrorism. This act of terror is personal to me. “On April 19, 1995 a bomb rang out, a bomb so tragic it was heard around the world.” Procession of 172 Souls memorializes the lives tragically taken as a result of the bombing of the Federal Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I have added additional souls of significant people in remembrance of their tragic deaths as they join the massive procession.

The composition of the work offers the division of the plane by multiple figures interacting within a geometrical plane divided as such to enable a disassociation of the figures and to progress the forms from the bottom of the painting to the top. The painting launches from shadowy puddles as figures extend out and emerge from the fragmentation. Bodies become slightly recognizable as they arise from crouched head low to fully erect. Color and light transitions with the progression further emphasizing the release. 

Fait Accompli

Fait Accompli: An accomplished, presumably irreversible deed or fact
A thing or act accomplished and presumably irreversible

An action which has already been done and which cannot be changed

Fait Accompli depicts two figures one crouched and one extending, in the middle an infant. The crouched figure covers her heavy head while passing the child to the receiving figure. The background is divide and fragmented as the transaction is without comprehension.

This painting depicts the immensity of the task and the strength of the decision maker whom chooses the passing of one’s child to another (others) for the survival or betterment of that child. It also bares the immensity of the task and the potency of the one(s) accepting the child.

Since the beginning of time, since the evolution of the human species, for the innate existence of the species child survival has been communal. In all cultures, nations and times. It has always taken the collective to raise one.

O Thus She Stood

…narrative

 O Thus She Stood depicts five female figures rising from face down crouch to stand up tall. The multiple figures are actually a single figure in the stages of being knocked to the ground and exhorting herself to stand back up.

No state of human existence is ever static. Peace of persons’, counties’, and minds’ is an incessant process.  O Thus She Stood depicts a constant determination toward the renaissance of amity.

It demonstrates the rise and fall of a singular female figure pushing herself up from the underside, starting to her feet, attaining balance, upended in grace. In completion she experiences resurrection. Momentarily glorified then knocked back underbelly.

The masking of the figure(s) permits anonymity and universality by detaching the viewer from real physical representation or perception of the individual. The background is comprised of many planes divided. Chilled abstracted geometric shapes and shading demonstrate the energy, emotion, and intangibles of the peace making. A flat shadow grounds the progressive figures providing a realm of reality and a base of truth.

The composition of the life size figures and electric bursts of shading are such that the viewers’ eyes are drawn up from the bottom of the pictorial plane to the top and down again emphasizing the continuum and the fortitude of the peace seeker.

Azadi

…narrative

Azadi آزادی: freedom and liberty, Farsi

 Azadi voices the rapture and sovereignty of global liberation for women.

In this work our heroine emancipates herself from the murky darkness of imprisonment. Her bareness demonstrates her courage while her transparent frock predicts her vulnerability.

Valiantly the captive throws open the windows. Portholes undone, they served as her vista of a foreign world of rights not her own.  

Positioned she is prepared to vault into a bright, divided, and complex world. Valor is greeted by uncertainty.

Her liberty; a universal human right, a release from ignorance, servitude and oppression. 

Margins 0.5

…narratives

A portrait of motherhood.

She is constrained by her circumstances and restricted to her existence inside the red lines.

She is placed in a position of marginal importance. The world requires her influence to be limited and her deeds, powerless.

Marginalized in society she is held down by the little hands that extend for her while it is these obscurities that simultaneously justify her.

Our heroine releases and soars backward from her restrictions.

The blank page that sequesters her portions into a gallery of sensations and onlookers. Her empowerment is bound with all others before her. 

The conqueror’s shadow; painted flat upon the fragmentation, binds her to this very tangible moment, choice and act.

 

“Sinu Ina (Nigerian – Yoruba translation: Into the Light) shows three figures, sit to stand, one behind the other, cloaked in gradations of shadows. The center figure sits in a puddle of darkness, face veiled. The second begins to rise out of shadow and the third transcends into great light. The dark to light process of this painting represents the process of becoming educated. The simple act of educating girls has been under attack for years.
And not just in Nigeria.
This work seeks global educational equality for girls.

Sinu Ina was created in support of “Smart Girls” and Half the Sky Movement. For more information – please visit http://www.halftheskymovement.org/ “

2pi r/t = diminished potency, the loss of power and control, a realized deception due to differences in power, all capitulated through the ravages of illness.  2pi r/t = demonstrates circular velocity by a singular male figure whose three heads pictorially express a state of inner division and turmoil. His six arms and hands extend, to thrash and flail besieged for balance. Despite casualty within the equation his limbs exhibit remaining strength as if to contact composure of the past.

The background is composed of planes divided.  Chilled spheres depict the starkness of the centrifugal force that has taken him. Defined shadows of his own form, overcome the motion in three shapes of varying hue and color representational of his past, future and his present reality.

premiere en rouge: A female figure walks a red carpet shaped in her shadow. The red carpet she walks may be any stage or event in her life; a premier for her. The plane is divided and the shadows are painted flat. The shadow is what grounds the figure to a real and tangible situation. Her shadow is red to express the importance of the walk she is taking. The background is divided into an expressive explosion of figures, faces and energy that surrounds the situation; currently present or passed prior. The division is an expression of everything that is happening around her.