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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Postcards from the Past


"Postcards from the Past" work in progress.
With everything that is happening in the world right now, it can seem overwhelming and all-important to pay attention to. I'm having trouble carrying on with my usual studio routine. I feel like there is so much outside my usual flower painting that needs my attention. Last week, after participating in the Women's March in Seneca Falls, NY, I started this Postcards from the Past project. Seneca Falls is considered the birthplace of the American women's rights movement.

We got to the march early and had a great spot for hearing the speakers in the Women's Rights National Historic Park, site of the first women’s rights convention in 1848. Two of the inspiring speakers—Diane Shenandoah, Oneida Nation Faith Keeper - Wolf Clan and Louise McDonald Herne, Bear Clan Mother—spoke on how the early Suffragettes in Western New York were inspired witnessing Hausenosaunee (Iroquois) gender equality. I don't remember learning this in history class, do you?

We stopped in the Women's Hall of Fame where I picked up these postcards: (Hear Our Voice postcards were picked up yesterday. I thought they made a nice picture together.)

Postcards past and present.
I brought them home to my studio where they've been sitting on my desk speaking to me. I'm not sure where this project is going, but I'm taking it step by step. It's a good place for me to me right now—exploring how to communicate ideas visually.

Here is what my little series looks like so far (still a work in progress):
All the portraits will be sepia toned with the Iroquois Confederacy Wampum belt symbols connecting them.
I'm connecting these portraits with the symbols of the five Seneca Tribes—the Iroquois Confederacy Wampum belt, sketched in my notebook above. The tree of peace is in the middle. The middle portrait is of a Seneca artist, Caroline Parker (Seneca) in 1849.

The past has a lot to teach us. Let's not forget her lessons. I'll be sure to post photos of the finished paintings. Here's something you can do this week: write a postcard to your senators and representatives about what matters most to you. You can print out postcards and find more action steps at www.womensmarch.com/100.

Find your voice by using it.

My best,
Bridget

2 comments:

  1. Yes, so much outside of our creative work needs attention, but it is the art we do, paintings, poetry, music, etc. that is eternally important. Also, like your postcard project, we can marry our creativity to our need to be involved in the "dust of the world" as the old Chinese poets would say. A wonderful project you've conceived here, Bridget, weaving together art, local history and political activism.

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    1. Thank you, Michael, for your encouraging and thoughtful comments.

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