Friday, October 10, 2008

Window Of Opportunity

During the late summer of 2006, I visited a small community in Canada’s newest territory to find inspiration from a people with an ancient history. Although Rankin Inlet, Nunavut is a relatively new community, many of the people are descendants of the indigenous Inuit natives who have lived throughout this region for many millennia.

I met a young Inuit artist who took me to see the landscapes surrounding the town. He pointed to a high lookout that is used by hunters to track the migrating herds before we continued past an ancient burial sight. We traveled on to a place where the Inuit used to live before “Everyone started showing up here.” We walked to the mouth of a shallow river that was just about to join the Arctic Ocean and my companion told me that many generations of his people had fished here. I touched the water and suddenly I could see in the calm reflection, a day of bounty and abundance that may have occurred during a time not so long ago.

Our journey took us to an example of Inuit architecture. This structure has a dug out floor six inches below the ground with thick walls constructed with many layers of moss. Caribou bones were used as rafters and the leather hides were stretched over the roof and the gable ends. These structures used to dot our northern landscapes. This example that I sat inside of was the only one in the entire area. My friend told me that he is concerned because there are fewer and fewer memories of these ancient ways remaining.

The afternoon sun shone brightly onto the caribou hides and I marveled at all the contrasting textures that I saw. While I snapped a couple of photographs I made the comment that these could be the oldest windows in the world. They kept the rain, wind and snow out, while allowing the light to come in and add warmth to the dwelling. This painting was inspired by the textures that I saw that afternoon. The opportunity that I refer to in the title speaks of our ability to realize that the ancient wisdom of our elders will help us to create a brighter future for our world.

Before fast food drive thru, clear cut forestlands, styrofoam packaging, nuclear bombs, subdivisions with green painted rocks for lawns and expanding deserts, another kind of people inhabited this Earth. With lives filled with science, architecture, art, fashion, medicine, sport and entertainment, indigenous natives have thrived by respecting the heartbeat of life, enabling them to live in harmony for the benefit of their environment.

Our ability to shape a peaceful future is still possible if we continue to recognize all the windows of opportunity the surround us throughout our lives.

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Over the last six months, I have been finding many different ways of sharing my artwork and stories with people from around the globe. I am always delighted when someone takes the time to send a message, encouraging me to continue with the valuable work that I am doing with my art. This positive support always makes me feel great!!!

Occasionally, I receive comments that are insulting. These comments simply make me shake my head in wonder. I cannot understand why someone would take the time to showcase their ignorance and lack of respect for someone else. Two days ago I received a comment about ‘Window of Opportunity’ all the way from Australia. This comment made me laugh out loud, so I thought I’d share it with you:

‘That’s incredibly cheesy. I`ll stick to my SUV and fast food. When I see an ipod made of sealskin and moss, then I might believe their lives were filled with science. This caribou skin window of opportunity can`t compare to a window of glass that you can actually see through.’

I could comment on this comment a bit more, but I don’t believe that it deserves any more of my time.

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Joanne and I are going to my parent’s house, in the country, for this three-day weekend. It’ll be nice to spend a few days in the beautiful countryside that surrounds their home. So, until next week….. peace and love to all – including my admirer from down under!


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