I received a very cool gift this Christmas.

Louis Riel–A Comic Strip Biography by Chester Brown.

I have always wanted to learn more about Riel and the Red River Rebellion and this was the perfect gateway drug! If you can get it at your local library, I recommend it. Better yet, pick it up for yourself….

www.drawnandquarterly.com

—————-

Aaron

I had a discussion today about the Haisla Totem Pole Repatriation Project.

http://www.haislatotem.org/index.html

For some reason this led to talking about governing a homogeneous population and the onset of Globalisation. I was thinking about the toll “imperial industrialisation” is having on world cultures. Literally thousands of the world’s languages are dying. And quickly. Our generation is witnessing a disturbing rate of homogenisation. These languages will be dead in our lifetime.

I guess one of the things that really bothers me about this is the fact that a language represents a whole cultural mindset, a unique way of looking at the world. Indigenous peoples around the world have words for plants and animals whose existence we in the industrialized world aren’t even aware exist. The possible benefits of this kind of knowledge becomes permanently lost to us. I remember about eleven years ago being told of a tribe in Africa whose term for rainbow translated to “Mother Mist”. A language is like a cipher into a whole different perspective on life and reality, and dreams. As the languages disappear, so too vanishes the wealth of human inheritance we pass on to our children. And what is the exchange? Pollution. Depletion. Homogenisation.

I guess one of the reasons I feel so strongly about this is the fact that I don’t speak any language but English and some halting French. I know maybe ten words of Cree and nothing of my Cherokee heritage. I am a walking example of how languages can pass away.

But there is hope. I am quite serious about taking some courses and spending some time at the Native Friendship Centre here in town. If the history of my people is going to be forgotten, I will not stand by and watch. I’m going to fight in the best way I know: I am going to study and learn and share all the knowledge I can accumulate.

Of course, since this fits in with what I am already doing, I guess it’s not a big stretch! But it is a decision I am happy about.

I have just started reading “Reflections of a Siamese Twin” by John Ralston Saul and I can already sense that may open a few cans of worms in itself. Stay tuned for some ranting!

So…what’s on my easel today?

I am struggling with a piece. I thought it was finished a week ago, but then, as can happen, I realised that it was way off the mark. It is deceptively simple. A woman is the central focus and she is surrounded by and wrapped in flames that take the shape of a Thunderbird. Something is missing, though, and I am having a very difficult time seeing what the missing thing is. Does that even make sense? Anyway, I think I am obsessing a bit with this one, so I’m going to have to put it aside for now which is something I hate to do. It’s probably a good thing however, as I have a commission that needs finishing fairly quickly.

Well, that’s more than my fair share of typing today, and if you’ve stayed with me this long, then by the gods! I salute your fortitude!

Regards,

Aaron

Well…welcome to my online journal. I should state right away that this will be a little different than my personal journal in that I will probably not be posting a heck of a lot about my private life. What I will talk about is the process of creating, moods, general happenings, that sort of thing.

So, let’s begin…

I have a show coming at the end of April! It will be, as usual, at the Bearclaw Gallery on 124st and 104ave. I will be doing a few different things this time around. I am excited about working on some larger canvasses (5′ x 3′, etc) as I tend to stay with what is familiar and comfortable to me: 2′ x 3′ and smaller.

The weather has finally broke and I find it is such a pleasure to be able to go for a walk without wondering if the crack I just heard was the ice or my ear falling off. What a country this is! Sub-Arctic temperatures in the winter (-50 degrees celsius with windchill) to Semi-Tropical temperatures in the summer (+38 was the hottest day last year, I think).

The problem I am having lately is time. Time. There just isn’t enough. I have about five projects that I haven’t been able to concentrate on. One of them is a comic book dealing with issues ranging from my brother’s schizophrenia to the effects of globalization–it’s a lot more fun than it sounds! I have been halted on that for two and a half years. The other project that I have really neglected is a fairy tale I wrote for my neices. It is told in single pen and ink panels that take you through the story visually. There are no words. This has been an ongoing project for eight years!

The third is a series of smaller stories that I am writing for children that are basically vignettes from my childhood and what it was like to grow up Half-Native.

The fourth is a book of artwork and reflections. Thankfully, I have only been on this one for about eight months.

The fifth is the continuing development of a workable and interesting website. At least this is finally getting off the ground.

And of course, the work that ties it all together is my painting.

The sacrifices then, are my personal relationships. I am often unavailable to family and friends. I sometimes wonder if it is worth it. But even wondering…I know that I will choose to work on these things anyway. Of course, making a living is a great motivator, but so is the desire to make a positive contribution to the world we live in. My life will not always be so hectic. I know this. Creating something is always harder than maintaining it.

Choosing to be an artist or actor or musician or writer is always a tough call, both for yourself and your family. I have no good advice there. It is hard. That’s it.

We have a very strange society. Art, in older cultures, was not separate from life. It was essential to it. Like food or shelter, art was a basic necessity for life. I wonder if this has changed because in Western Society, myth and meaning has been largely excised from visual art. Art for ornamentation alone. This is a concept that truly bothers me.

But that sounds like a journal entry for another day!

Be well,

Aaron