Stark arrangements of culturally specific artifacts became an obsession of mine around 2003 and I expect will remain so for my entire life. In this series of digital composite images, I meditate and relfect on earlier times spent in pursuit of fufilling my cultural identity. Much like my professional mentorship, my cultural journey to knowing my ancestry has been and continues to be a deeply personal and rigorous undertaking. The elements seen in these compositions have special meaning and fascination for me, but I don't presume to be teaching anyone else about culture through these pieces. For that, we'll need some time together and some medicines to work with.
"Realizing your ancestry happens in a fleeting moment when you see the geneological documents - but owning that identity and taking your place in a community can take a lifefime."
Embracing your newly discovered roots as a concept, is empowering and frightening all at the same time. It's uncharted territory where your past foundation doesn't seem to hold up much anymore. This state of hyper-arousal that you find yourself in, makes it imperative to engage introspection. Blood memory, that undeniable certainty that you feel when one of your prime senses is awakened through stories, ceremonies, fasting, dancing, drumming, singing or simply engaging in your communities' concerns, this is a powerful affirmation to my Algonquin roots for me. Acquiring that identity is a slow and ongoing process. The big question remains, what will you contribute to your community and the world at large, what will you do or say artisitcally, once you have your voice. The works below are from a follow up series to the first set, they employ some of my travel shots from the 80s with icons from my teachings. In this series, I found myself searching for ways to visually combine aspects of all of my cultural roots.