Sunday, October 4, 2009

the focus

I spent the day inside the cabin and organized some research...paperwork...watched and taped "rabbit proof fence", an Australian film historically based on a 1931 incident in which the government in their all knowing wisdom attempted to help eradicate half caste children and "help" them in their acceptance in the Australian society. Only the fairest were allowed to be educated and were examined much like one does when you want to buy livestock. Three small girls aged 8 to 14 were physically removed from their mothers and families to be shipped off 1500 miles away to a ever so helpful Christian camp/prison of sort where the Almighty white man Mr. Neville would proclaim their aboriginal beliefs and lifestyle were not acceptable for the future of Australia. Molly, Daisy and Gracie walked along the rabbit proof fence back to their mother and homeland. This documentation exemplifies how in the name of religion "others" try to make a better life and future for the half caste children. The truth is that very few children received an education but were being trained to be of service to the white society and the sexual gratification of the head master of the ranches. In the end a sense of true Faith and a mother's love guides their children home and with the "Spirit Bird" watching over them and some incredible people who slipped them some food and blankets they found their way home despite awesome climate and environmental obstacles. The photography is exquisite and the colors of this much loved
country and the strength of the human spirit will give you reason to pause and be grateful for the simple gifts we have received. I have seen this film several times and while I was working on my Kath Walker piece I mentally began to outline images I want to use in my work dedicated to the girls courage and sense of identity. The colors are coming to me in my dreams and the spirit bird will be a challenged because I have an idea of how I want to portray her but in time we will see how this works for me. I do have original photos of two of the three girls both now and then as they make their story known.

I have an artist flying up from Naples,Fl next week for a week or so and I am already making room for her to spread out her newest works and share some of my journals and such with her. We met in 1990 and though we do not get to see each other physically very often we stay connected through our works and the Art Quilt Network. As we age as a group of men and women the time we have with each other is ever so precious. Our children have grown and our parents are now gone but we share the bond of creating our sacred marks . Our styles are diverse and there is only room for honest , authentic evaluation of our compositions, techniques and evolution has been a real treasure in my life and aspirations. We will check out the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Columbus Museum and the Franklin Conservatory. The Ohio Designer Craftsman has another art quilt exhibit to check out and I know for sure she will want to make a pilgrimage to our favorite bead store...Byzantium. I am hoping for crisp cool days and nights so we can go to the Dawes Arboretum to sketch and photograph the serenity in the foliage and trees and plants we have changing colors here in Ohio. She loves Nature and Florida is a very different climate zone so if we are lucky she will be able to unwind in a new setting.

I have worked most of the afternoon and I am about 2/3 done on this large work but the embellishments with my natural beads and pearls and bone metaphors for the aboriginal dreaming sequence in Kath Walker's life as a civil rights leader and advocate for equality. She was also an Australian treasure with her poetry and compassionate writings. I met her in 1993 which was the year of the indigenous woman celebration and it was an act of pure synchronicity when we met on my first day in Brisbane. I need to get back to work now but I do appreciate all the support I have received since last February as I stop for a moment to focus on the gifts of my day. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

1 comment:

  1. LOVE the piece!!! It captures the feel, for me, of the Dreamtime in aboriginal culture and belief and art.
    This is a beautiful post---and how often people go in and wipe out indiginous culture in favor of Westernization...makes me ill.
    Stop by the blog---there is a little something for you!