This print was given to me as a gift, and I have carried it around and placed it on my altar for at least 10 years. I did not know who the artist was until recently, when I was delighted to discover Cherokee artist Shan Goshorn's site. What a magnificent body of work! I was particularly moved to learn that she is also a weaver, creating "medicine baskets" in traditional designs and techniques that are woven from the words of broken contracts, and as below, the names and photos of children taken from their communities and forced to attend boarding schools."Work of seeing is done,
now practice heart-work
upon those images captive within you......."
Rainier Maria Rilke
The image above that has spoken to me over the years is not even on her site, and I don't know what it meant to her. But to me it speaks of "coming into power" as the maturation of integral consciousness. The masked figure "gathers power" as he/she embodies, "drums with", the union of opposites. Red and Blue represent opposite elements or forces, heat and cold, fire and water. The orbs could be both the sun and the moon, as well as the interplay and synthesis of dark and light, conscious and unconscious, heart and intellect. As the figure drums, she/he resonates with the starry rythems of creation. The mask is, to me, self becoming transparent, personality and ego a thin mask over a field of stars, the cosmos, the greater life we are part of. The white band in the "sky" could be the energy of spirit, or the vast rim of the Milky Way.
Learning that the artist is also weaving together the broken threads of the past to create healing baskets that re-member and re-join brings the idea of "coming into power", for me, into even greater focus. I'm so pleased to share a bit about Shan Goshorn's wonderful art.....
Shan Goshorn's award winning basket “Educational Genocide – The Legacy of the Carlisle Indian Boarding School” was created with a Cherokee-style double weave, and was made from splints of paper that had student’s names and historical documents and photographs who were taken from their parents and force to attend the boarding school. A photograph of the Carlisle Student Body of 1912 was woven around the perimeter of the lid.
“I completely underestimated the impact that this piece would have on viewers, including Indian and non-Indian. I was surprised that every native person seemed to have a connection to Carlisle, but it was even more surprising that everyone seemed affected by seeing the faces of those children woven into the lid. I think that maybe seeing those children humanized this ugly, but critically formative, part in our collective history.”