Inspired Contemporary Art by Women

Laura Borealisis

Historically, too few Women Artists were able to attain any level of mastery because lack of access to learn, cultural disapproval during their time period, or the challenge of balancing obligations as mothers and various other gender roles. While some of this still echoes from the past, it is indeed the past! With the internet and social media, our opportunities for connection & sharing are expanded exponentially and we are able to cultivate and change these old patterns that once prevailed.

The soul force and nourishment of the feminine expression is needed in our world so I have compiled a preliminary list of Women Artists for Culture Collective. By no means is this list complete… in fact, we think it will always be a work in progress. This collection does not include some of the often-overlooked old masters, such as Artemisia Gentileschi, nor even more staple names such as Georgia O’keefe or Frida Kahlo. While I actually really love the idea of such a collection, this gallery consists primarily of artists living and creating, Now.

The women are not divided up by professional status here, although in future features there may be more focus on those areas. All that was required was a consistent body of work, easy accessibility to the work, and proper photographs (no weird light, not blurry, and cropped properly when necessary).

With such volume, it was a bit wonky to curate all the imagery, and I’m sure it is ripe for scrutiny. However, it has been cultivated in a spirit of Sisterhood, where women in all different phases of their artistic journey, as well as different styles, have been included. It was crafted in a manner of finding what makes us relate. So, you may see that work is grouped or coupled with similar works in similar styles, mediums, or color schemes.

My hope is that these Artists will find connection with each other, community, mutual growth, and also expansion beyond where we are each currently at in our processes. May the opportunity to see more art from women help the youth find new inspiration and role models for crafting their own creative voice, as well as find the courage to share their unique creative identity alongside their male comrades. And of course, may any artist find beauty and inspiration here, regardless of gender.

My other hope is that this collection will inspire a deeper interest and desire to cultivate knowledge in the culture around Art; to expand our awareness of Art, Artists, and the various ideas, impulses, and belief-systems being put forth through Art. May we know more artists and their works, and may gender no longer be an inhibitor for engagement with Art. I implore you to develop a broader, yet more acute taste and vocabulary with which to engage art and creativity; to see deeper, to feel deeper, to find ourselves more fully resonant  & articulate with that which is known as Art.

Please enjoy this gallery. Contact the artists via social media or personal websites – Most of them provided their art via facebook, so I suggest that specific network for contacting them should you desire to do so. I could not link everyone’s info here, so another wonderfully convenient option is to consult the mighty Oracle of Google ~ And, of course, take some time to see, feel, think about, and enjoy these works from the feminine side of the spectrum.

Many Blessings,

Ashely

Featured Image (top)  Laura Borealisis – “Frida”

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White Buffalo Day Wisdom, A Call to Take Heart

If those making decisions at the upper levels of government have a heart, how can we encourage them to listen to it? With so much distraction happening in the head and constant external pressure, listening to the heart isn’t always so easy to do. It requires taking a moment to stop, breathe, listen within, and the willingness to let go of the demands placed on us by our minds and others. Accessing the wisdom of the heart almost always involves clearing the mind. Elders remind us on White Buffalo Day to step back and consider the larger picture of our roles on this planet, our impact, and our potential to come together and make much needed changes. Clearly this can only happen if our political world leaders are listening as well. What will it take to call them back to the heart?

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 8.55.32 AM
Goat Carson at White Buffalo Day 2005.
Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Ehrenreich

White Buffalo is a story passed down for 19 generations in The Lakota Tradition with a beautiful vision of harmony between nations and healing for the land. Sounds like something we could really use right about now doesn’t it? The story speaks of a White Buffalo being born to send a warning to the people, but to also symbolize a great potential for change. If the people choose to wake up and return to living in a harmonious way with Mother Earth, miracles can happen. In 1994 a White Buffalo was born in Janesville, Wisconsin the same week of a historic a pipe ceremony in Congo Square in New Orleans. Regardless of coincidence or divine intervention, this was the beginning of White Buffalo Day.

On August 27th every year around the world and in Congo Square, New Orleans people gather to consider the implications of this powerful idea. Congo Square is one of the birth-places of jazz and blues though it’s history to local natives predates the colonial era. It is a place where Native Americans and African Slaves traded, danced, and drummed freely thanks to progressive French Plantation Owners in the area. Nestled in the heart of The Treme Neighborhood made famous by the HBO series of the same name, Congo Square is also known as Louis Armstrong Park.

New Orleans has a rich history of cultural cross-pollination in art, food, and its music has brought people together joyously for decades so it is a perfect place for the vision of The White Buffalo to be honored and celebrated each year. Perhaps, The City of Dreams, as New Orleans is commonly called is also a place of prophecy…

Central to this story is a man named David “Goat” Carson. He is Cherokee elder, reverend, poet, musician, oral-historian, and community organizer in New Orleans. He has hosted The White Buffalo Day Celebration for 20 years. Carson is most known for his Grammy-Awarded songs performed by Dr. John and his thought-provoking social commentary masked in works of fiction like Shallow Graves.

Respected Black Indian Chief, Allison “Tootie” Montana, is also central to the birth of White Buffalo Day in New Orleans. Black Indians have a hidden past and their blood lines stretch across continents. During times of slavery, Indians raided plantations and freed slaves. These varied African and Indian cultures mixed and inter-married, keeping aspects of their ancient indigenous heritage alive through their cultural ceremonies. Some of the bands of Indians that fled during the fall of Montezuma had migrated north and east around the gulf, others had migrated north and to the west. As these histories become known, the term “All My Relations” begins to make sense in a whole new way. The American Melting Pot pre-dates America as we know it today.

David “Goat” Carson and Tootie Montana felt that it was time that some of these untold histories be celebrated in public with a pipe ceremony in Congo Square in late August of 1994. During that same week, thousands were gathered in the pine forests of Northern Arizona with Hopi, Havasupai, Apache, and many other traditional elders for council of Rainbow Nations. Drumming around The World had also been organized for that week with people in 38 countries and 42 US states all drumming simultaneously for Unity. None of the elders or organizers were aware of the others gatherings, this was before the days of cell phones and Facebook. The White Buffalo was born that same week in Wisconsin.

Musicians like Cyril Neville, known for his soulful musical expressions of social justice, along with his wife Gaynielle have also participated in making White Buffalo Day special over the years. With a growing list of New Orleans cultural dignitaries and artists, the event has continued to be at the spiritual heart of the city, attracting people from all ethnic backgrounds to share a worthy vision. Always a small and spirited gathering of those who know and remember the old stories.

In South Dakota, The 19th Generation Keeper of The Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe and Bundle today is Chief Arvol Lookinghorse. Lookinghorse, author of White Buffalo Teachings, is an advocate of maintaining traditional spiritual practices, founder of The Bigfoot Riders which memorializes the massacre of Big Foot’s band at Wounded Knee. Lookinghorse is also the founder of World Peace and Prayer Day.

Each year, The City of New Orleans releases a proclamation for White Buffalo Day, often authored by David “Goat” Carson and Arvol Lookinghorse with a specific focus of intention for the years event. Appropriately, 2013 was dedicated to “A prayer for the healing of the hearts and minds of our leaders”, and the full proclamation states:

PROCLAMATION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS

WHEREAS Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of The Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe of the Nakota, Dakota & Lakota Peoples of the Great Souix Nations and Honorary Citizen of his beloved… New Orleans has these words for the people of New Orleans & the world.

“Today I witness a lot of sickness on the face of the earth” and

WHEREAS
“We have come to a time when we the people are the ones bringing
all the prophecies of all the peoples closer & closer” and

WHEREAS
The humans are so disconnected from the Spirit Mother Earth now
to succeed we must use the power of prayer. The signs of the white
animals are all over the world. We must be the voices of these white
animals, and

WHEREAS
The Tar Sands is the biggest cancer on Mother Earth now they say the
Keystone Pipeline will not leak yet we witness pipe line leaks in Yellowstone
Arkansas and other places which they cannot clean up, and

WHEREAS
Even now the oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico are poisoning the waters
which are the blood of Mother Earth, and

WHEREAS
We must realize that Grandmother Earth is the Source of Life not a resource.
We must pray that our leaders stop thinking only of their personal profit
and open their hearts for healing and their minds to understand they are
risking the future of their own children and grandchildren and

WHEREAS
On August 27th we gather on the Sacred Ground of Congo Square to pray for
the healing of the hearts and minds of our leaders. We shall be as fearless in
our prayers as the Spirit is fearless in our protection.
and now therefore

BE IT PROCLAIMED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS
THAT THIS COUNCIL RECOGNIZES AUGUST 27th 2013 AS
THE 19th ANNUAL WHITE BUFFALO DAY

A PRAYER FOR THE HEALING OF THE HEARTS AND MINDS
OF OUR LEADERS

in the name of and by the authority vested in the Council of the City of New Orleans

If you have followed Idle No More, Forward on Climate, and One Billion Rising through the past few months you have noticed that many different movements are gaining momentum to end the abuses of indigenous communities, women, and the environment through acts of love, beauty and non-violence.

Leaders throughout the world still appear to be sleeping in regards to our sacred obligation as human beings to the planet and each other. This is not a time for hollow words and rhetoric from our political leaders. Wars, corruption, colonialism, imperialism, greed, short-term personal gain, and ignorance are cluttering the minds of leaders everywhere. Perhaps together we can psychically nudge them to slow down and listen to their heart for just a moment.

White Buffalo Day is August 27th but we invite you to hold this vision of healing, and unity alive every single day of the year. To learn more about and download PDF’s of previous proclamations, visit here. To listen to an NPR radio interview with Cyril Neville you can click here. In case you missed this story in last years Huffington Post piece about White Buffalo Day (which also has some more in-depth history), please take a moment and listen to the words of Chief Arvol Lookinghorse here.

***This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post but has been updated with added details for Culture Collective***

White Buffalo Day 2012: A Positive Sign

Illustration by R.E. Wall

Every culture and religion has prophecies that concern future catastrophe and/or Earth renewal and rebirth. Maybe these are meant to be fate that is written in the stars, or mere warnings about possible futures. The Mayan date of 2012 has brought the discussion to the forefront of many peoples thoughts. Wether it is nuclear fallout from Fukushima, global warming, solar flares, pole-shifts, economic melt-down or political unrest, the “doom and gloom” predictions seem to take spotlight over the more positive notions of renewal. No matter what you believe, it is clear that we are in a time of uncertainty and unprecedented change. The White Buffalo Prophecy, handed down for 19 generations within the Lakota Tradition, has continued to unfold in magical ways that paint a positive future for humanity.

In 1994 Alison “Tootie” Montana, a prominent Black Indian Chief from New Orleans, had a vision of bringing together many tribes to celebrate their shared history. David Carson, Choctaw author of “Medicine Cards” and Kam Nightchase, a Lakota Pipe-Carrier also shared a similar vision. Reverend David “Goat” Carson of New Orleans led the organizational effort to make this vision a reality at Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park. The gathering was called “Sacred Medicine Circle at High Noon” on Aug. 20, 1994.

Black Indians are descendants of slaves who inter-married with local indian tribes, as noted by the scholar William Loren Katz. Indians would raid plantations, free the slaves and escape into the swamps where they shared and mixed their cultures. This union was clearly seen as a threat to the colonists, who did their best to stomp out the resistance and make sure the history of it was also erased.

Congo Square, located in the Treme Neighborhood in New Orleans, was a place where slaves and free people of color gathered to drum, dance and trade on Sundays. The dance, with origins in Africa and throughout the Caribbean, is called the Calinda and is said to invoke the ancestors. Local American Indians had a prophecy that their ancestors would one day return with songs and dances to heal the nations of the world and the slaves were seen as the fulfillment of this prophecy. The coming together of African poly-rhythms with the Native America pow-wow drum birthed the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.

So it was fitting for a sacred medicine circle to be held on Congo Square to bring this history out in the open, bringing people together across tribal lines to celebrate unity and healing. However, the event was considered controversial for bringing up a history that is not much talked about in the deep south. During the ceremony, in acknowledgement of the controversy, Rev. David “Goat” Carson asked for a sign from the Buffalo Nation that this coming together in Unity was good medicine for the people. The event was attended by many tribes, including Lakota, Choctaw, Cherokee and others.

Meanwhile in Arizona, another event had been organized for the same week called The World Unity Festival to honor The Hopi Rainbow Prophecy. This prophecy talks about a time when people will come together from all religions, all cultures and colors, to restore the sacred hoop of life on Earth and bring healing. Neither event organizers were aware of the others event. The World Unity Festival culminated with Drumming Around The World, which included people drumming simultaneously in 38 countries and 42 U.S. States for unity and healing. The drumming was led by the late Baba Olatunji and was attended by members of Hopi, Dineh (Navajo), Havasupai, Apache local tribes and people from all over the world.

During that same week in Janesville, Wis., a White Buffalo was born named “Miracle” thus fulfilling a Lakota prophecy that is 19 generations old. In response to these events the City of New Orleans proclaimed Aug. 27 as White Buffalo Day to be celebrated from this day forward. Eighteen years later, and after many deep and meaningful cultural exchanges between tribes across the country sharing their own stories and prophecies for the future, White Buffalo Day is still being celebrated in New Orleans and all over the world. You can learn more at WhiteBuffaloChildren.org or read the actual city proclamations here.

Please enjoy the video of Chief Arvol Lookinghorse, 19th Generation Keeper of The Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe and Bundle, speak about the prophecies. As he states, “We all love our kids, we all have a gift of compassion and a gift of responsibility.” Political institutions and religious organizations that are supposed to bring unity are currently the cause of so much fighting across borders and religious lines, perhaps White Buffalo is a calling to come together regardless of our backgrounds and create a better world for future generations. As Chief Lookinghorse states, “No one person is better than the other.” It is truly a time to find spiritual unity or we may just inherit a doomsday future instead of a positive one.


Get social with the Story on Huffington Post Here