Posts from the ‘Indigenous’ Category

Painting experiment No. 3

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Sharpie Markers, 91% isopropyl alcohol and gravity, 8×10″, on canvas board.  Bird painted in acrylic.  Private collection.  We made this up last Thursday with a new art instructor in the house!  Very cool.  Not sure though how long something like this is going to last…  For now though it looks cool and for the beginner artist: a fun way to open the door.

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Introduction to the Woodland School of Art with drawing exercise:  your instructor:  Mark Seabrook, B.A., B.Ed., and woodland style enthusiast!  One of the fun things we get to do is make art presentations and my fave is the Intro to, which includes a 50 minute drawing exercise where everyone gets a turn at drawing the Moose!

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Chalk on board, 48×72 inches, twinravens style moose in the Woodland School of Art style, made famous by the great Norval Morrisseau way back in 1962!  We have a fun time with this class and it works wonders no matter where we go!

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Found Poetry, Book 4, Sharpie marker and black ball point pen on thinly spread dollar store acrylic, on 1991 issue paper.  The book title is:  The Dream at the End of the World.  Love the title, don’t care about the book!  The paper is quality and I’ve been fussing with this little art and writing project since just after Labour Day.  Book 4…  should be ready by Xmas.  The fun thing about this one is there is a brand new bundle of very interesting drawing scattered throughout, interesting in a way that might lead to a new series of paintings.

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Ball point pen, 90 pound paper, sketch book, from 1995.  That would be Treasure Island in Lake Mindemoya, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, in the back ground.  And up front of course is the traditional dancer without his bustle.  Hey we are working a colouring book for the advanced: we’re way beyond keeping it within the black lines on this one.  It IS in the works.  This is going to be one of the pages!

The art journey and artist life continues!

Spoken Poetry

Performed by writer and arranger:  Mark Seabrook.

Many thanks for that email and so here is a selection, as requested:  Poetry.  By yours truly.  What we have here though is “Found Poems”:  we take a hard cover novel from the goodwill, we pick a title that we are attracted to, never minding what the book is about, and we use the “black out” technique, covering the words that mean nothing to us, leaving behind what does mean something.

The book I selected from the shelves at the goodwill:  Every Living Thing.  That title meant something to me.  Copyright way back in 1992, by James Harriot.  We picked it not only for the title but for the quality of the paper within the book:  we’re turning those pages into artwork as well, and art work needs good paper.  So be selective when you’re creating one of these fun Found Poetry books.  Find a title that means something to you and find one made with quality paper.  342 pages takes time: I started book 1 on October 16, 2018 and finished it on November 25, 2018.  We’re working on book 4.  But here are some selections from book one:  Every Living Thing.  Spoken Poetry performed by anishnabe artist and writer:  Mark Seabrook.

Oops!  My bad!  This one is from:  Infinite Riches, published in 1998 by Phoenix House, author Ben Okii.  Saved from the rubbish heap by yours truly and turned into a one of a kind book of poems and art!  (These can become heavy duty journals along the way!  This is book 2, created December 20, 2018 to May 9, 2019.  So be careful!)

Classic love stories, from the road taken…

Classic love stories…

Classic love adventures…

More classic love adventures…

Some of these, you may have to sign into your youtube account.

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Artwork from the pages of:  Every Living Thing.  Sharpie marker on dollar store acrylic paint spread thinly.  Sometimes there is no poetry to be found!  In which case turn the page or pages into visual arts!

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Yes…  it can become very telling.  Artwork and poetry, in book 2:  Infinite Riches.

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Ball point pen on acrylic paint spread thinly.  Woodland School style artwork by Anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.

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Kooky.  Sharpie marker on acrylic paint spread thinly.  (Not sure where I was on November 9, 2018, but judging by this: going down memory lane…  )

And so there it is!  Spoken Poetry, written and performed by yours truly.  Art work, drawings and so on, created by yours truly.  It is an art and writing adventure!  Let me know what you think!  Drop me a line anytime.

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One for the road:  don’t forget to add a little colour to those art pages!  Dollar store acrylic paint with sharpie markers.

 

SUN INFINITY MOON Book Review

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Mark Seabrook is multifaceted with a tremendously creative spirit and a flair for storytelling, using the musical, visual and literary arts to carry forward his unique “voice”.  

SUN INFINITY MOON is the latest literary offering from Mark and is a collection of anecdotal accounts – years in the making – as told through an Anishnabe character named Sun, whom, along with all the others who make an appearance in this book is reportedly fictitious, existing, as Mark states in the foreword “wholly within the author’s imagination”…  ”Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locals [sic] is entirely coincidental.”

For readers who may be familiar with Mark Seabrook’s life and works, the coincidental resemblances are pronounced and one finds it impossible to refrain from attempting to deduce what is real and what is imagined.  Perhaps that is precisely the way Mark intends it to be?

We begin with:  We found a pile of human bones on the floor of the tree house.  A pretty great opening line for book of stories!  There was no order to the way they were piled, it was all abstract expressionism, Jackson Pollock style […] It was that fuckin’ skull, upright, jaw missing, top teeth gnarling on the coarse floor boards, frontal and parietal blaring like a pair of brand new stripper shoes mailed in from L.A., that caught my attention.  At some point in time that was someone’s think tank.  Someone’s whole of everything was up there, everything they could imagine and cherish, childhood memories, first love, the nightmares, were stowed and secure in that brain case, which was now bone dry, on a floor.  Empty.  The maggots had cleaned house and run off.”  Mark’s phrasing and descriptors all throughout the book are marvellously evocative whether they are conveying Anishnabe angst or reflecting on non-native practices.

And there is A LOT of Anishnabe angst.  And anger.  And revengeful ravings.  Amidst the playful dark humour and erotic tales there is an unmistakable undercurrent of humans behaving badly.  Such non-edifying things I have trained myself to avoid – but as Mark is a friend and I was proud he had followed through on his goal of publishing this book, I thought it was important to give it a read and gain some understanding.  

Mark had a compelling desire to convey a “sick and disgusting story” (his words, private correspondence) without an editor’s assistance, for fear that any editing would perhaps make the stories less “his” and risk becoming adulterated by the influence of non-native manipulation.  Such close protectionism causes the book to suffer, however, and I understand a second printing is in the works, with some essential grammatical improvements that should not conflict with the telling of these tales.

Nevertheless, for all it’s disjointed recapitulations and errors, SUN INFINITY MOON is actually rich with layers of meaning, above and beyond the unpleasant disrespect the characters (both native and non-native) show for each other, for non-human creatures and for the environment.  The deepest layer Mark Seabrook crafts for readers is that a great wrong has been done to Anishnabe youth with lingering, festering wounds that continue to hinder mental wellness and self-actualization.  That dark layer of meaning is the type of wrong that occurs in all cultures, worldwide, and to this reviewer signals a psychological malfunction present within the human species itself.  It is a darkness that when illuminated by awareness, inspiration and inner discipline can be channeled into human constructs that ennoble, enrich and transform, allowing each of us to better discover our inherent talent and live up to our full potential.

If the intention of this book was to amuse and entertain while unveiling a host of deleterious behaviours and events, intermingling sweet memories with frightful ones, it has achieved that end.  It may have been cathartic for Mark Seabrook to write such a series of tales…future works will reflect that or not.  Within Mark’s character “Moon”, we see it is possible to develop awareness…perhaps in a future literary exploration, Mark can expand upon that and use his creative storytelling techniques to help humans transcend the species-wide affliction of destructive behaviours.  That would be a book I would be glad to recommend!

L.  Manitoulin Island

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Page 15, from “May 11, 1996”, SUN.  Sun Infinity Moon, by Mark Seabrook.

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Back cover:  Sun Infinity Moon, by Anishnabe artist and author: Mark Seabrook.

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Missing In Action, painted face masks, acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private collection.

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Missing In Action, on display in Ottawa, 2014.

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Killed In Action, painted face mask and acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private collection.  (On display in Ottawa, 2014)

HACKED paintings No. 1 and 2

after seeing that young lad’s HACKED artwork on CBC a couple of weeks ago i was inspired!  of course it helps that i’m always rooting around at the Goodwill looking for any long lost and authentic Tom Thomson sketches on 8×10 inch panels or anything along those lines.  i did come across an original and authentic Daphne Odjig at a garage sale!  you can bet i snapped that up for the cool 20 bucks they wanted for it.  i put that in a bag and ran like a bank robber!  same with the Martin Panamick i found in a junk shop on Queen Street West, Toronto, all those years ago.

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Hacked Painting Number 1:  the before photo.  found it in the goodwill, 16×20 inches, on canvas, dated 1975.  Googled the artist name and up came the obituaries.

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HACKED painting No. 1: the after photo.  New title:  “I acknowledge that I live and work on the unceded territory of the Algonquin nation.”  (Remembering the Trail of Tears)(we might go back to work on this one and add a few more “things”…   )

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HACKED painting Number 2: before.  found this one on the street!  a vendor had something going on, over there on Bank Street one Sunday afternoon, not far from Beaded Dreams.  i said i love the picture but i hate the price!  he sold it for 3 bucks!

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HACKED painting No. 2:  after.  New title:  “The Starlight Tours, the early years.”  on canvas board, 8×10 inches.  if you don’t know what the “star light tours” are, just google them up.  they’re now famous Canadian stories.

and so!  we’re on the look out for more of these which means we’re going to have some fun, Indiana Jones style.  stay tuned as we’ll be posting more photos of the before and after, numbers 3 through 13.

and i want to say thanks to that writer/reader who emailed from the USA and asked about a detail in the INFINITY section of my debut novel: SUN INFINITY MOON.  you asked:  what is an LCBO box?  answer:  LCBO is Liquor Control Board of Ontario and an LCBO box is a heavy duty cardboard box in which they ship 12 bottles of wine, the 750 ml variety.  they’re pretty common to see at the LCBO store front, free to take for anyone moving out or in need of a little old school storage.  closer to home, on sweet and beautiful Manitoulin Island, LCBO can also stand for:  Little Current Band Office, hackney backwoods Indian humour for those in the know.

as my old comedy buddy, Mr. H.B. would say:  if you can’t laugh with them, laugh at them!

more to come!

Dear Diary: August 15, 2019

oh my goodness where to start…  Well I can say the book launch party held at Huron Island Time at Providence Bay on July 20th was beautiful!  We had a great little crowd on hand, introduced the book: SUN INFINITY MOON, a little history, and opened the floor for questions and open discussion.  Now that was a lot of fun.  We have copies of the book available at Huron Island Time in Providence Bay, and if you’re rolling through the town of Tehkummah, they’re over at Ward’s General Store.

Here in Ottawa, we have copies available at Beaded Dreams, 426 Bank St., those folks are open 7 days a week.  And of course they’re on ebay, just type in Mark Seabrook in their search.

And so!  Between today and several weeks ago we’ve had some wild high jinx out there on the summer, late night, super highways between the town of Ottawa and home sweet home, Manitoulin Island!  My little red “war pony” took down a moose just east of Sudbury one fine and dreamy morning, around 1 a.m.  What a ride that was!  The cop got to looking at the car with his flash light and said:  You’re lucky to be alive.  (It didn’t take me long to figure that one out as I was ready to shake hands with the moose, up close and personal!)  And so my little red “war pony” was totalled.  The insurance guys gave me a beauty rental, a flash Malibu “Stacey” (ha!) and I was happy to have that limo, riding around the town of Ottawa and the back roads of Tehkummah, AC blasting.  On the ride back to return the limo, blazing back to Ottawa, 3 a.m., yes…  you guessed it.  I hit a deer full on.  BOOM!  And so the Malibu “Stacie” was totalled.

I sat there on the road side at 3 a.m., beauty night it was, freakishly warm, waiting for the cops, and wondered about this kooky stretch of weird luck on the highways this summer.  There have been some kooky adventures over the years:  Yes, I did survive the 60’s Scoop.  Yes, I did survive the Great Hay Wagon Disaster of 78.  Yes, I did survive being struck by lightning (although that one hurt!).  Yes I did jump out of a burning plane.  And yes I did survive a sinking at sea.  But 2 big game animals inside of 2 weeks?  Sheesh.  And I’ll be honest with you:  going eye ball to eye ball with that moose at 1 a.m., on highway 17 east bound, I really did have time to say to myself:  I’m dead.

With the deer gag, the cop settled me down, the tow truck took Stace away, and I was left there alone in the middle of the night, wondering the BIG WHY?

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Back home in Tehkummah, classic summer afternoon in progress, August 8.  Barefoot behind the wheel, barefoot on the field.

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The front of the house in Tehkummah, as seen from the trampoline/sun tan bed, on August 4th.

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Clouds over the range: a classic summer afternoon in progress, barefoot with the medicines, at peace while the war rages, many miles away.

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Looking east, at home, late afternoon: heavy duty storm clouds brewing!  Good thing it was going east!  There was an incredible wind happening when I snapped this photo.  I asked my old buddy Scott, how far away is that?  I mean yes, over the Georgian Bay, but is it over Parry Sound and Muskoka?

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“For MMIWG”, acrylic on canvas, 36×60 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  The show is on going at the Atomic Rooster, Bank Street, Ottawa.  There is still time to get over there and add this one to your collection!  Priced to sell at $3 500.

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What a difference a frame makes, twenty four little dollars…  Found this frame at the goodwill, repurposed it!  That is an authentic twinravens acrylic on canvas in there, 8×10 inches, and ready to go!  (The frame though wasn’t 24 bucks, it was really only 4 bucks!  I dressed it up with some black acrylic paint and ta da!)

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Memory lane:  found this photo, after the 2nd car crash, hanging in the upstairs, cobwebbed.  That is me and Levi working through the first 5 minutes of D. Taylor’s one act play:  Toronto at Dreamer’s Rock.  The date is June 8, 1991.  We’re on stage at the Northern Story Telling Festival, Whitehorse, Yukon.  We’re 80 plus shows into a national tour which started at Membertou First Nation months earlier, so we were a well oiled machine when we hit that stage!  I’m playing Rusty and Levi is doing Keeshig.  That’s the second stage, not the main stage, and this was our first show at the festival, of which, if memory serves, I think we were booked for 4 shows over the weekend.  So this would be sometime after midnight, Friday night.

The festival organizers had no idea who we were or what we were about so they all sat in front row seats to see this Indian outfit all the way from Manitoulin Island:  Debajehmujig Theatre Group.

We rolled through there like a bunch of bobcats and tore that place to pieces!  Like I said, we’re 80 plus shows in, and when you have that many readings stowed, you really know your lines and how to say them.  We worked them over until they were laughing themselves silly and at the end, sobbing wrecks.

The festival organizers immediately re jigged the game plan and took us off the second stage and put us on the main stage including top of the bill on a packed to the rafters Saturday night, which of course we owned.  We did a Sunday matinee and by this time the fans were in there thick!  Yeah…  first time I ever played a festival where every show had a standing ovation.  Very cool.  And a cool photo to see, after all the wild high jinx of this crazy summer.

 

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

on the range

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before sunrise:  May 4th, and gosh darn cool!  me and poochie were out there on the snoop, i was shivering as i came over here in my city jimmy slap, poochie was decked in full on winter wear, and folks it was:  QUIET!  nothing but the river.  what change from the madness that is the capital city in full manic human madness.

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that’s pretty telling…   (downtown Tehkummah this afternoon…  )

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its where i got my Ph.D.!  thesis:  how to win friends and influence people and where it all went wrong…

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untitled:  sharpie marker and ball point pen on bristol board, 22×28 inches, art work by yours truly.  April 25.  not sure where we’re off to with this composition so like my instructor (RIP) used to tell me: do more than 10.

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dream landscape:  sharpie marker and ball point pen on bristol board, 18×24 inches, artwork by yours truly!  May 2.

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Indian Fighter, acrylic on canvas board, 18×24 inches, summer 1999. artist collection.  (one of my personal faves)

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there she is: the mother of my children, famed daughter too, MSW, historian, and ceremonialist, high priestess.  we shall remember Mother’s Day which is coming up fast.  you ladies out there who have been blessed with sons and daughters, i am there with you as a father.

(photo:  i think that is up there on highway, well i know they call it the James Bay Road, but Jimmy Boy runs east of the almighty and you can visit places like Eastmain, etc., we went all the way to Chisasibi for a gig.)

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a real indian in indian country: father’s day is coming up too and i happen to be one of those!  i’m fine though on one of those limestone beaches on the south shore of Manitoulin Island, or on my own stretch of water front, where we can, indeed, stretch our legs!