Soothsayer (Huichol)

Original piece. Acrylic on canvas, 16″x20″.
From the First People 
It is known that
Time is a somnambulist
Straddling day and night in one truth.

We are in no hurry.

To make is to believe 
To live is to worship
Every little universe 
Inside, all around.

A stone’s soul
A single bead
Each speaks the mother
Tongue, the language of dreams.

This Island of Yours

IMG_E3919

On this new island of yours
paths of sunlight smile

then charge into night.
Here our feeble echoes

wander, only to ask:
How long can a human

heart endure such falls
so many dogged throws

of the dice? Everywhere
we look, we see your face.

Every time you lift the mask
another stranger stares back.

Soon the shoreline will contract
its lips, swallowing all in a kiss.

Ama

 

ama

Each 
dive is a
reclamation,
a return to 
self. 
As 
land’s tether 
tugs childishly
at our waists,
Her quiet
cradles us,
moved solely
by the ebb
and flow
of our
hearts.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

This paired piece is a tribute to the remarkable ama or women free divers of Japan, who have been practicing their trade for over 2,000 years.  Today the few who continue this exclusively female tradition still dive without air tanks for as long as 2 minutes and as deep as 80 feet to procure abalone, seaweed and other seafood. Girls as young as 12 begin to train to be ama and they continue to dive well into their 70s and even to 80 years of age. I found it particularly fascinating to learn that they have developed a trademark whistle or an isobue which they emit as they are resurfacing to regulate their breath.

In the painting, I have tried to reflect some of the tools and items of dress characteristic of the ama, such as the white tengui or bandanna and the sharp wedge-like tool or isonomi. I have taken some artistic license with the addition of a basket (they commonly use a bucket floating on the surface) and by adding a bright color to the shorts (traditionally all of their attire was white). Finally, I have also added my own flair with the tattoos, but they do depict the two relevant symbols of the seiman (single-stroke star) doman (nine-hand seal) that are commonly displayed on ama bandannas and outside their homes for good luck and protection.

Thank you for taking a moment to consider this post!

 

 

 

 

 

Chin Up (Moko Kauae)

IMG_3342

Greetings from the
bottom of my world-
unapologetically.

I have been told one must
prepare for all outcomes,
still many a back door to meet,
yet as I lean in and press
my forehead to yours,
it happens that
between us
the river of my origin flows
freely.

 

This paired piece (drawing + poem) is part of an ongoing series of mine that explores tattooing practices and aesthetics and the various cultural experiences behind them. In my research, I was particularly struck by the discovery of a resurgence in the traditional New Zealand Maori Moko Kauae, or female tattooing (usually on the chin). In addition to the fact that it serves to reaffirm the Maori identity (one which has suffered a history of oppression and suppression), I am also drawn to the way in which it challenges mainstream Western ideals of female beauty. Moreover, I see the placement of this art on a place as visible as the face as an formidable act of strength and candor.  It has certainly left me humbled and inspired.

 

 

Ode to Sak Yant

3ACA308C-B172-4462-A710-C4344E20030C
I had been seeking a return to
some reptilian way of thinking,
only to find that the river banks
were also streaked with blood.
And so it is that every breath
moves with gain and loss,
life and death.
Its needle passes in and out,
inextricably threading us together.
This is the armor we carry,
the Yantra within our skin.