Book Review by Steve McPhail

SUN INFINITY MOON
a novel by
Mark Seabrook

“Mark Seabrook” is a renaissance artist from the “Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation”, also known as “Many Rivers Joining-Human Beings”. Sagamok’s culture and language is “Anishinabek” / “Anishinaabemowin” and is made up of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi bands. (The Sagamok reserve is approximately 120 kilometres west of Sudbury, Ontario.) I first became aware of Mark’s brilliant “Woodland” style of painting at the “Providence Bay Harbour Centre” on Manitoulin Island, where his work illuminates the walls of the “Huron Island Time” ice cream parlour.

“Contemporary Canadian native artists have produced three major schools – ‘Westcoast art’, ‘Inuit art’ and ‘Woodland art’. All three have been based on ancient traditions that, despite the persistent and pervasive forces of acculturation, have endured to the present day. The woodland style developed as a direct result of the imagery ‘Norval Morrisseau’ brought forth into the world in the early 1960’s. Despite censure from elders in his community, he chose to make public the spiritual concepts inherent in the ‘Midiwewin religious society’. Common to contemporary and prehistoric traditions is the prevalence of images of ‘transformation’: representations of a man or an animal being two life forms at the same time.” – (http://www.native-art-in-canada.com/woodlandart.html)

For the record, “Midiwewin” is a religious society made up of spiritual advisors and healers, known as the “Mide”. The Mide serve as spiritual leaders for the general populace. They perform religious ceremonies, study and practise sacred healing methods and strive to maintain a respectful relationship between humanity and Mother Earth.”
– (https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/midewiwin)

Though Mark Seabrook is no stranger to expressing himself in the written word, as a musician, poet and playwright, only recently has he released his first novel, “Sun Infinity Moon”. Much like his brilliant work in the visual arts, Mark reveals the story of a narrator’s “recapitulation” of his memories of childhood friends on Manitoulin Island, in a non-linear manner. (“Recapitulation is a core shamanic technique used to heal emotional charges. On a deeper level, it is used to reclaim energy and return it to one’s self.” – (http://toltecnagual.com/toltec-tools/the-recapitulation)

Whether these various characters are different people, or aspects of the narrating character’s fragmented personality, is up to interpretation. On the book cover is the warning: “contains course language, violence and sexuality”. Whether the reader identifies as Indigenous or not, take no offence at the harsh and humorous collage of scenarios depicted. As one follows the narrator’s struggle through his personal transformation to regain his “Indigenous soul”, consider the act of visualizing this story a personal shamanic journey.

Derek Stephen McPhail

Providence Bay

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SUN INFINITY MOON

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There it is!  With flash book marks to go with.  Wow!  Those folks at OJ Graphix in Espanola did it up nicely, quickly, and exactly.

Book launch, island style, will be this Saturday, July 20th, 7 p.m., at Huron Island Time, on the beach at Providence Bay.  Flash art show as well, and hopefully, live music by one of the great island musicians who we know, going back 45 years.

Here are a few sample pages:

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Opening 2 pages, Sun Infinity Moon, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Copyright 2019.

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Opening 2 pages to SUN, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Copyright 2019.

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Opening 2 pages to chapter 2, SUN, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Copyright 2019.

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Opening 2 pages to chapter 3, SUN, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Copyright 2019.

It is a short read:  just 250 pages:  perfect for the cottage on a summer afternoon.  Mind you it IS a horror story…

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Back cover, SUN INFINITY MOON, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Copyright 2019.

It will be available on ebay soon!  Amazon to follow.  Book launch on the island this coming weekend and city book launch here in Ottawa coming soon.  So stay tuned!

Miigwetch!

Hit the PRINT button!

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My novel layouts arrived yesterday and they’re good to go!  This is a writing project darn near 24 years in the making!  This nit picky writer of course held it back numerous times but the real hold up was the fact that I didn’t have an ending…

That ending arrived in a dream way back in 017 and so here we are, ready to hit the PRINT button!  At last!!!  I’m calling them this morning at 9 and telling them:  Ship it!

Release party to be held soon!

Life in the Big City No. 2-07-06-019

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Walk way into the National Gallery of Canada on July 6th.  Inside: AC.  Outside: 39 C.  Did I ever tell you I will never say mission accomplished until I have something like this building, on 500 acres of the south shore, on the limestones of Manitoulin Island, with a view of the great Lake Huron?  Not as a gallery but as my personal crib!  (My old buddy Scott said:  how are you ever going to heat a place like this?  I said:  we’re only staying here for 6 months of the year! (Ha!))

I was at the gallery for the Gauguin Portraits exhibit:

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There she is!  Tehamana has many parents OR The Ancestor of Tehamana, 1893, oil on coarse fabric.  Tehamana is shown with flowers in her hair, holding a fan and wearing a contemporary missionary dress (those goddamn missionaries!) of the type introduced by European Christian missionaries.  Surrounding her are enigmatic spiritual referents: glyphs (taken from Easter Island tablets), a female figure (possibly Hina, the goddess of creation), and three hovering heads (spirits of the dead).  This portrait merges a colonial present with a mysterious, mythic past.  Those goddamn colonists!

Anyway.  I have been waiting my entire art life to see this painting in actual, up close.  We covered that base first thing yesterday.  “Self Portrait with Yellow Christ” was an also must see but in that section:  NO PICTURES allowed!  It was there!  And I spent a solid 20 with that one!

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Super heavy duty:  Melancholic (Faaturuma) 1891, oil on canvas.  One day I want to sail to Tahiti and visit those legendary Tahitian women.

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Young Christian Girl, 1894, oil on canvas.  Painted after Gauguin’s first sojourn in the South Seas, this work is an evocative synthesis of Breton and Tahitian imagery.  The economy of form and intense colour create a powerful sense of the spiritual.  The brilliant yellow cloth of the girl’s missionary dress fills the canvas, becoming a luminous embodiment of pure faith.  (words by NGC.)  Standard fare on any Art History curriculum!  I edited out the bit about those goddamn missionaries…

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twinravens on July 6th, markers on heavy paper, 2019, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  well at least for a day I can report that my original art DID hang on the walls of the great National Gallery of Canada!  (ha!)  They had an art station set up for anyone who wanted to fuss and I surely did!

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Ah yes:  the Great National Gallery of Canada.  It was along this way where I ran into the great Alex Janvier!  You’ll have to scroll back into this blog to read about that adventure!

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The Martyrdom of Father Brebeuf and Lalemant, c. 1843, oil on canvas, Joe Legare (1795-1855).  Saw this and wondered if a Mr. Kent M. was inspired by such things way back in his early days…  Slip some high heels on those Indians and BINGO!

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The Daffodil, 1910, oil on canvas, Laura Muntz Lyall.  First NGC purchase of an impressionist work by a woman!

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Boy with Bread, 1892-99, oil on canvas, Ozias Leduc.  Classic Canadian Art History fare.

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The Death of General Wolfe (detail), 1770, oil on canvas, Ben West.  Once again I saw this and started wondering about our old buddy Mr. Kent M.  Slip some Frederick’s of Hollywood 7 inch heels on that Indian and flipping BINGO!

IMG_8207Super heavy duty:  Renoir’s almighty from 1903.

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Mega:  Monet in 1903.

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Ultra!!!  Vin in 1886.

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Holy Smokes!!!  Matisse in 1926.  He too, stood the same distance away from that canvas! Wowza!

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This one rattled me.  That’s the super gorgeous Jennine as a 17 year old, shortly after she moved to Manhattan from Union City.  What struck me was the photo looked like it could have been photographed earlier in the week, yet here we are in 2019, and Jennine is long gone, dust and bones.  It reminded me of what the great old lady:  Jean Hodgson of Mindemoya, once told me, back before 1994:  Don’t be anyone but yourself.  And it also reminded me of what the great Jack Seabrook once said to me way back before 2002:  Don’t be putting things off to tomorrow.

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Yes, I will not say Mission Accomplished, until I have a building like this on that 500 acres, on the south shore, Manitoulin Island, as my personal crib.  That’s on the walk way out.

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Mother and Child, 60’s Scoop Survivor, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches, by anishinabe artist Mark Seabrook.  On display at the Atomic Rooster, Bank Street, Ottawa.  The Atomic Rooster is NOT a lounge at the National Gallery of Canada, ha!  Priced to sell:  $3200.

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I Miss You, acrylic on canvas, 18×24 inches, by anishinabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Also on display at the Atomic Rooster.  $500

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The Green and Blue, mowed trail back home, thousands of acres, by anishinabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Priceless.

Even though the farm back home is indeed a work of art, it is a work of genius, a paradise on earth, in a place with zero light and noise pollution, and something imagined and realized, there is another place too, in the imagination…

Here is the video from yesterday’s walk through.  Be warned:  it is a full ten plus minutes.

 

art work by Mark Seabrook

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“Power Bird”, acrylic on canvas, 24×36 inches.  Private Collection.

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“Power Bird, 2018”, acrylic on canvas, 22×28 inches.  Private Collection.

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“Woodlands at New Moon”, acrylic on canvas board, 18×18 inches.  Private Collection.

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“Bear Clan”, acrylic on canvas board, 18×24 inches.  Artist Collection.

A Self Portrait on November 30th by Mark Seabrook

“A Self Portrait on November 30th”, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches.  Private Collection.

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“Anishnabe at Full Moon”, acrylic on canvas board, 18×24 inches.  Artist collection.

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“Feeding the Wolves”, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches.  Private collection.

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“Tehkummah scenes”, acrylic on canvas board, 8×10 inches.  Private collection.

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“Tehkummah Scenes”, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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“For Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women”, Acrylic on canvas, 36×58 inches.  Artist collection.

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“For Missing and Murdered Women”,  Acrylic on canvas, 30×40 inches.  Artist collection.

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“Tehkummah scenes”, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Artist collection.

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“Tehkummah scenes”, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Artist collection.

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“Joe Boyden meets Grey Owl”, Bic pen on sketch book paper, 8×10 inches.  Private collection.

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“Stacie from Malibu, Fancy Shawl Dancer”, Sharpie marker on 65 pound paper, 8.5×11 inches.  Artist collection.

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“Power bird”, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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“Anishnabe portrait”, Sharpie marker and ball point pen on bristol board, 18×24 inches.  Artist collection.

And many more of course, email me if you’d like to see others that ARE available, we ship anywhere!

Miigwetch and Happy Canada Day.

a place of peace!

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the road to home:  we’re back on the island, in our hideout paradise!  it is a glorious time to be out here, in with the green and blue!  what love!

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young love birds:  ah yes, there is a lady in the house!  thank goodness for her!  when you’re in paradise with some good company everything is wild roses.

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Happiness is Big Bucks!  5×7 inches, acrylic on canvas board, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  found the frame at the goodwill, doctored it up and boom!  i like that one.

we’re back in the slab first thing tomorrow:  back in the art battle!  but this one is over at the Museum of something or other, across the river in Hull or whatever they call it these days.  anyway:  i believe it is an all indigenous art battle!  we’ll let you know how that one goes.  but first we are going to max our day here on the land:  blue skies and green grass, a river and a black bikini!

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there is plenty of time for more of this!  (we can make that drive to the city through the night: no use in spending a day in the car as far as i’m concerned!  lets do that one at night!)

 

Life on the Road

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Somewhere along the 401, west bound, before sunrise on June 22: This is at one of those OnRoute rest areas, open all night and good thing as this boy usually hits the open road around midnight.  Didn’t get on it until around 1 a.m. though, leaving Ottawa while the party was still in full service whoop!

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At Alexandra Park, downtown Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, June 22, 9 a.m. Saturday morning:  a beauty park for an Indigenous Day celebration, art show and sale.

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Super Heavy Duty:  at Alexandra Park, Saturday morning:  walking around the almighty.  Seeing that place name at that hour of the day on that fine morning sure made this anishnabe boy stop and think.

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At the Gala, in Ottawa, Thursday night, June 20th:  silent auction in progress.  That is a Mark Seabrook/twinravens authentic, up for grabs and it went!  It’s 24×36 inches on canvas, Stevenson paint on Canadian made canvas/stretcher.  We put those big colourful plants in there as a reminder there is medicine growing all around us, right there in our own backyards…

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At the Gala, in Ottawa:  Fancy Shawl Dancers getting ready to make their entrance.  They put on a grand show at the Gala and I’m glad I went!

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Petroglyphs Provincial Park, near Peterborough, Ontario, on June 16th: Father’s Day on the road.  The gals were going in a diff direction so I started out on my own and found myself out here.  Not many visitors on that day, so I made my way out there without a fuss.  The Parks folks won’t allow any photos of what’s in there so here are a few from Google:

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If you’re interested you can check out the story for yourself but I’ll just say that the date these made the news was in 1951, the same year the Sheg. thing up on the island made the news, and also the same year the Government of Canada made it legal for First Nations people to practice their own cultures once again.

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Super Heavy Duty:  check out that figure at top, who appears to be waving hello/good bye/who knows…

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Its that figure connected to the circular piece with the radiating lines that I wanted to get up close to and personal with.  Same with that large bird with the long legs.  Large alright:  these are huge pictures!  That bird is huge!

Like I said:  I was the only visitor in there and so walked around the area in the assigned walking areas, up above and separated from the rock surface.  I went around a couple of times, thinking, if I could just get down there in next to them, that would be amazing.  The young lad working the door was reading my mind!  He asked me where I was from and was I First Nations.  After I answered his questions using that twinravens accent, he said I could go in!  He soon produced a smudge bowl, some sage, and a form I had to fill out covering the who, what, where, when and why stuff.  The why:  Anishnabe, Spiritual Journey, Survivor of Colonialism.

While I was smudging down he opened the gate and said its all yours.  WOW!  I went in there with my sock feet touching down on the sacred, and man oh man, this fella could feel the almighty, loud and clear.  They had a ceremonial place just inside the gate, with tobacco on some stones and water in a copper bowl, so I went through the rituals on my own before I went in any further.  Thank goodness for that stuff.

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Now this boy has had the good fortune of reaching, here and there on this good land we call Canada.  Here we are on the sands, south shore of Manitoulin Island, Lake Huron close by, at sunset, in some long ago August.

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Here we are in the fields back home, Mindemoya, Manitoulin Island, the fields where I was raised and the fields I worked with my dad at the front.  This is in some long ago July, at sunset.

alone at Carter's Bay in a long ago summer time

Every now and again those hands manage to land:  here we are on the limestones at Carter’s Bay, south shore of Manitoulin Island, in some long ago afternoon in August.

These hands managed to land right on that character with the line connecting to the circular design.  And it landed on the bird with the long legs!  It landed on a bunch of them!

I wish I had the words to describe all of what was going on between me and those magical pictures, created so many moons ago.

What I can say for sure: it was breath taking.

I walked out of there, maybe knowing something differently.  By the time I was walking out of there, other visitors had arrived and I was aware of them watching me going through my own rituals.  As I was coming back through where the ceremonial tools were placed a tourist asked me:  What are those yellow and red things there on that rock?  I said they were tobacco ties left by others.

Super Heavy Duty visit.

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Check this out:  on the walk out I came across this turtle on the path.  Now I know it wasn’t there on the walk in because I would have seen it.  But it was there on the walk out.  Look at what it’s doing.  And do you know what the turtle is in old Anishnabe stories?

Holy smokes!

What a day, what a visit, and what sights to be seen.  What a Father’s Day indeed.

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Sixties Scoop Survivor with Child, acrylic on canvas, 20×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.

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Ravens hitching a ride, acrylic on canvas, 24×36 inches, by Anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private Collection.

We have plenty more paintings to make, and places to go!