Monday, September 6, 2010

Painting Pomo Dancers & the Speaking Land

The Pomo Project began with a Pomo dancer's response to my art work. Most traditional Pomo culture available to experience today, at least as a non-Pomo person, inhabits the beautiful dancers, dance songs, & regalia.

So naturally I'm painting dancers.

Armando Williams saw something in my work that he trusted. He has a beautiful way of holding confidence in me & the other artists. He helps us learn Pomo medicine, then believes that what we bring create comes from spirit.

I both love this approach & tremble within it. How can what I do be right? Ah. Relaxing into the mystery & trusting. Oooh. Hard work, & joyous.

This 18 x 24" acrylic painting, Dancer & Swallows, is actually painted over an older work. In the flush of a relationship that later fell apart, I painted my dear one & me sitting romantically among the wonderful skimming violet-green swallows of the Laguna de Santa Rosa. After things ended badly, I gessoed out the figures, leaving the swallows ready for some better purpose.

The twist that Armando's faith allows to emerge in my paintings is something I see in the Pomo dancers' ceremony, feel in their rhythms: that dancing keeps life healthy, heals the earth, invigorates our sacred relationship to other life.

This dancer's movement & prayer helps the swallows be abundant. Their abundance helps her dance.

This isn't something any Pomo person told me. It's something the land speaks. I'm attracted to Pomo & other native people because I hear the language of the land in their seeing & doing. Like everyone, I've starved to hear the fact of conscious land spoken aloud.