I have been thinking a lot about finding hope and value. How we can find that hope, as individuals and as a community on our journey through life?
There is no word in our Ojibwe language for my profession. In the English language I would identify as an artist, aadizookewinini is what we say, Which means Storyteller.
My childhood was very awkward, I was very awkward, I’m still awkward. There are moments when I feel as if I walk this world with only a small amount of companionship, which is my spouse and children. It won't be long before my children will be off to walk on a separate path from me, but I know that we will always be parallel to one another and I take comfort in that.
As I continue to discover who I am, I have chosen to embrace the perpetual clumsy awkward person that I am. It allows me to remain hopeful on this journey that we share together.
I have utilized paintbrushes, small video, digital images, poetry and other objects as tools to tell my story and also to share the stories of others. We tell our stories in many ways, this is one of many tools I’ve embraced. How do you share your story?
Nurturing our passions, our gifts and our talents allow us to grow. Finding value within ourselves is terribly important, but also to have a balance with that. Be willing to learn. Value is a forgotten idea it seems. We don't seem to value our neighbors, value education, value diversity, etc. We can find value even with those we don't agree with... If we choose to. There are times we come across people and situations that are not ideal. This is when we need to assess situations, figure out how to respond. What can we do to make a difference? How can we leave a positive mark in the world? Can we inspire others? When we share with others, that allows positive growth in within ourselves, our homes & communities.
I take pride in my work, in what I do. Art is like a mirror of who we are, the mirror is a reflection of what is deep inside us. How we react to art is an opportunity to challenge ourselves to grow. I have spent the last several months teaching young beautiful minds a small fraction of art.
Art is pain, Art is love, love is awkward.
Art is healing, art is observations, art is experiences.
The story is Art. Living with hope is Art.
The impact of art is under appreciated. Everything in our lives has been touched by an artist in some way or another. It saddens me to hear that the Arts are going to be taking such a large direct hit by an administration that seems to have lost value in the common person. Art is an amazing investment in our national economy. It accounts for 4.2% of the Nations annual GDP, it creates jobs, over 4.7 million workers. It also creates such a dynamic platform for communities. As I grow my career, I have realized how much I under valued arts... It has such an impact on all of us.
My daughter shared her "Fortune" the other day where it said, "With Music, you must think with your heart and feel with your mind." I'm not sure where I'm going with this at the moment... but a lot of thought is running through my heart and lots of feelings in my mind...
I do ask you for this, to understand the fears, worries and hopes of one another.
I sit here and try to think rationally through things.
My health, my child's health... under attack. We both have pre -existing conditions.
My livelihood, my career in art... under attack.
The safety of women, both young and old... under attack. The Violence against Women Act is to be defunded...
The education for my children, our children... under attack. You know, Grizzlies in Schools...
The food and water for my family, for our society... under attack. Water is Life. Defend the Sacred.
The ability to soundly find retirement after working hard for decades... under attack.
This is just a short list.
I know some may think this is an exaggeration, but it is real to ME. It is real to my children. Real to many friends, family and fellow citizens. Empathy may be difficult for some, but being real and honest is what I prefer.
If you don't agree with me, my love and faith remains. Let's be supportive. Even if we don't see eye to eye.
I know that we all can work together. I am hopeful, I believe we will persevere.
For those that feel the same, let's work together and be one another's light.
Please take time to support the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts in Action, National Endowment for Humanities and Public Broadcasting.