Posts tagged ‘Indigenous writers’

The Dream at the End of the World

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Opening pages of Found Poetry Book 4: The Dream at the End of the World.  I loved that title and to boot: printed way back in 1991, the paper is quality stuff that can handle the sharpie markers, highlighters and thinly spread dollar store acrylic paint.  I keep saying “thinly spread” as no matter how good the paper quality is in these old books, if you layer on gobs of acrylic, bad things are going to happen to your book project.  I’ve seen it happen with a few participants and yes it can get messy fast.  And that’s when the tears start…

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Remember: this is meant to be a long term art making project.  As you can see I started this one way back on September 4, 019.  Here we are at December 15th and I have 3 pages to go!  The opening “found poem”, is 2 pages of love…

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Found poems…  Love this stuff!  As I said to participants:  what literary surprises are waiting for us with every page?

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The End of Art School, found poem No. 3, is an 8 page beauty that goes like this:

in a dream, rising up through the tranquil sleep of a warm May evening, left in its wake a delicious sense of peace, of afternoon sunlight, the dream terrain, i felt the thrill of recognition, was offering, up to him again.  

his life was out of control, sidetracked by untidy passions, impulsive missteps, messy obsessions…

daring was in his art, and his ambition seemed limitless, he was an accomplished poet as well as a musician, still, he was beginning to feel like a hired hand, and he was weary of focusing his energy on works that were not his own.

disturbing, nihilistic, quietly bizarre…

its perpetual distraction.  as summer approached, the power of his stories, the dream had shown him the way.

flirtatious, seductive, she staged mad crushes, they had become favourites among the creative elite, they were famous among the famous.

his only refuge was his imagination, he invented his own planet, “I was always trying to get away.”

found his freedom, possessed of a diffident charm, and sensible in summer, thrillingly remote, was vital and clamorous, the ancient native, life burst through the seams, wonderfully excessive, costume balls, expeditions and martinis, cleanliness and efficiency.

steady, hot, with a moon that is like a sun when it is full, a madhouse: the piano in their isolated house was wildly out of tune…

trance dancing-all of it was part of the pageantry, Sahara, the sky had a life of its own, baptism of solitude, silent country, sensation of existing in the midst of something that is absolute: the absolute has no price.

mystical undercurrents ran deep, a man transforming, the supple nature of reality, on the other side of the looking glass, alienness intoxicating, insupportable jealousy, I shall be away. 

pursued the exotic, self indulgent, he kept up his creative momentum, he transported himself, an untamed twenty year old, the two began to spin fantasies.

a protagonist in his novel, restless souls who wanted to explore life outside, purpose and spirit, it was a mystery, She laughed: “You KNOW I don’t want you to go.”

a close friend of both, i dimly remember my own face and not yours, how psychosomatic can you get?

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Of course there is room for drawing: “Fancy Shawl Dancer, who IS Mother Earth”,  sharpie marker, thinly spread dollar store acrylic.

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And room too, for experimenting with the draw and the subject of the draw:  black ball point pen with sharpie marker on acrylic paint.  Maybe there is an opportunity to create a new series of pictures from the sketches in these pages.

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Some days are tougher than others…  Sharpie marker on acrylic paint.

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“True Love: age 22, (I knew her name)”, Found poem, a 12 page extravaganza!

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Once into it, these sketches can be pretty telling…  (life on the road…  )

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And of course there is room for fun stuff!  The end page of a wildly sexual poem, from the Road Taken!

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Ah yes: room to explore, room to create, and maybe a new series of paintings in the development stages…

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Heavy duty and ultra supra TELLING!  Wow.  This drawing is from the last of the pages in the book, 384 pages of found poems, drawings, journals, love stories, memory brambles lane, black circles under blood shot eyes, spinning out in a parking lot, from soup to nuts, insanity before xmas in the city.

Yes the found poetry book project is a work in progress and an exciting exercise for the creative soul.  On Monday I’ll be back in the goodwill on the snoop, looking for another interesting title with high quality paper.

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Power Bird, acrylic on canvas, 18×24 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Made fresh this past week and using a new brand of acrylic paint!  The last of my Stevenson Professional Acrylic, and I mean the last, we’re down to the bottom of the barrels, I’m pretty sure we only have a half dozen paintings remaining in those paint barrels.  Very sad for me as Stevenson was my brand since all the way back in art school.

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Power Birds, acrylic on canvas, 24×36 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Originally it was a black and white but with this new brand of paint in the house, it’s time to explore and see what she can do.

Just ten days before Xmas and…  yikes: another year will be in the books.

 

September 11, 2019

oh the dates in history…  i remember it well 18 years ago:  we were deep deep deep in the bush, far from any radio, TV, internet, completely unaware of what was happening south of us.  as far as i could see on that morning:  the big woodland skies were blue, the land was filled with greens and the waters were dark and mysterious, the sand was warm to the bare feet.  our jungle gear was brand new, untested, like us.  i managed 7.5 years in that jungle, but my gear was pretty much worn out by the time i came back.  i think i came out of there in November 2008, darn near crawling on my hands and knees!

but as my old buddy Sallah would say:  life goes on Indy!

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we’re getting ready for a reprint of Sun Infinity Moon!  now…  yes.  i do know there are some spelling errors and layout problems in the first run.  the folks at the printers gave my project to some junior whoever, not sure how new they were to the layout position but anyway the man in charged assigned the young lad and away we went.  the problem of course is we were in a time crunch situation.  we had booked our little release party for July 20th, and there i was still fussing with the writing of it, on the morning of July 2nd, WHEN we sent it to the printers.  as far as i was concerned, when i saw those layout problems within the text, in particular, the business of paragraph indents, in the e version proofs, i was okay to run with as time really was running out.  (we had already missed a dozen deadlines.)

how i did not see:  “course language”, on the cover, i do not know.

where we really in that much of a time crunch that i missed that?  well anyway there are only 150 of them out there with that on the cover, so if you have one, you have the collector’s edition.  when we had the little release party we joked that yes, it is course language, university course language, not meant for high schools…  (ha!)

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Beaded Dreams, on Bank Street, just north of Gladstone, in Ottawa:  i dropped off a fresh bundle of books to these good folks so if you’re in the area, you can get your collector’s edition, first run copy of SUN INFINITY MOON over there.  same with Huron Island Time down on Providence Bay Beach although i imagine these days, this far into September, things might be a little slow in downtown P.B.  now sure of the hours they might be keeping.

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The Atomic Rooster, Bank Street, Ottawa:  the show is still up but your chance will soon be gone to see “For MMIWG” by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook, up close and personal.  the canvas is 36×60 inches, Stevensons acrylic, and after this show, that painting is going into the Artist Collection, never to be seen in public again!

that is the great Peter Purdy’s artwork hanging next to mine.  title unknown, price unknown, 36×48 inches or there a bouts.  First Nations artwork.

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Mother Earth sketch, acrylic on canvas board, 18×24 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  we continue to play with the idea.

Found Poetry:  The Clone Trees, as read by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  The Found Poetry idea has been a lot of fun, we’re coming up with some mighty strange poems and artsy little books.  The starting point is of course you take a hard cover book from the goodwill, one with quality paper, toss the paper cover, and go to work:  much like you see here with the Clone Trees.  A book of found poems can be pretty telling as the days go by: it is not a quick fix project, book 3 was started in early May 2019 and finished just last week.  Very telling indeed…

Book 4 is in the works.  Fun stuff, crafty, artsy, and one of a kind.  And oh yes:  you’re suppose to pick a book with a title that says it all for you…

Let me know how it goes.

Labour Day Weekend 019

we’re a long way from that paradise today:  back home on the range.  even if we did have a car, there is no way we could have made that drive last night, having been awake for the previous 2 days:  in the field.

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Clouds over the Ottawa River, Thursday, August 29th.  we’re a long way from home out here.  every now and again though, there is a place of peace.

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the one and only blaze i got a chance to sit with this summer:  Thursday night in the woods, somewhere off the 6th Line, west of Ottawa, in the child friendly boons.  the troops had gone in for the night but i had to stay on a bit longer with this one.  kooky i know but i had two songs going to work on me, playing in my mind: song 1: Sick As a Dog.  and song 2:  No More No More.  both from ages ago and a long lost childhood back home on Manitoulin Island and in partic:  small town Mindemoya.  back in the 70’s.

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Screen shot:  page 15 from Sun Infinity Moon.  do you know those tunes and that artwork? (of course that wasn’t me in the 70’s, that was more like the 90’s!)

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Walking After Midnight.  a lot of that going on.  at night the city is more dangerous than the wilds and outback ten thousand acres north of the Manitou River, more dangerous by a long shot, especially where we are.

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The Great Jazzy Moon, watching my six, somewhere along spooky Montreal Road, sometime in August, after the 11th.

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Visiting from Over Seas-Deep in Indian Country, acrylic on canvas board, 14×18 inches, framed sometime in August.  Artwork by Anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.

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hmmm.  you see that rack up there on the wall, sporting the gas mask?  i asked the young lad tending, if it was an original Marc Adornato and the poor kid, clumsy about the waist, had no idea who i was talking about.  this being the town of Ottawa, with CBC and all, i would have thought he’d have been in the know.

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went to see it, at the Bytowne over in Spookyville, on Rideau St., the Friday night the picture came to town.  now i’m not sure what it was but i dozed off somewhere in the show and missed some of the kooky high jinx.  so i went back for the Sunday matinee, bright eyed and bushy tailed thinking i was going to see what i’d missed the first time but nope!  dozed off again.  i guess i’m getting tired of see non indigenous people talk so surely about indigenous subject.  i will say at the Friday night show, all the Grey Owls and Joseph Boydens were out in full force, wearing their pony beads and chokers and medicine wheel buttons!  from what i could see i was the only indian in the joint.

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oh yes i forgot to mention: i was inspired by the Mr. Adornato and so went up to the St. V. d P. on Wellington and found this gem:  from January 1975.  i think its acrylic, it is on canvas, about 18×22 inches, by a “F.lait”.  googled the name and up came a page from the obits.  on the back there is a title of sorts:  Sandy Hill Road, Ontario.  so this boy alive and here in 2019 is going to HACK this painting!  yes.  lets see what a free hand and an hour can do.  (i remember the summer of 1975, not so much the winter of…  )

i’ll post a picture when i have this bad boy tuned up, HACKED styled.  thank you Mr. A for a fun idea.

and thank you too, to a Mr. Jackson Pollock, for those fun ideas.

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Putting our Best Feet Forward.  the summer is over.  and i have missed it.  yes i did crash two cars coming back from my island paradise but total days out there were just 14.  well i enjoyed them and made the most of them.  August 11th remains in my mind, one of the best days of the summer and likely of the whole year.

 

 

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