Represents current and future projects.
Lesson learned, now to put it in practice.
I was on a long stretch of a narrow country lane just wide enough for a small vehicle to pass by going in one direction. The sides were enclosed by either a high stone fence or by thick shrubs. I had been walking for sometime now, alone, wondering if I missed a turn off. Rounding a bend I noticed a small yellow cottage with the door and window frames painted turquoise. At the gate stood an elderly woman leaning over a table.
She greeted me with the most delightful Irish accent. As I approached, she prepared a slice of sour dough bread with a spread of butter, then poured a cup of tea, and offered it to me. “You have come along way, my dear. You look hurt”. I admitted to my hobbling but I didn’t think it was that obvious. I thanked her for her concern. “My knees hurt too, but they are on the outside. It’s a person’s inside that’s more important," she enlightened. I paused a sip of tea, reflected, and then continued to swallow. The woman, acknowledging my hesitation to respond to her comment, reached into her apron pocket and pulled out a handful of metal shapes and arranged them on the table. “Have you seen these anywhere?” she asked hopefully. “I’ve seen them everywhere. In castles, churches, grave yards… especially in those ancient mound like things," I blurted excitedly, “do you know what they mean?” It had been my experience thus far that nobody seemed to have an absolute definition of the significance of these runes. The general consensus is that its up to the individual. She selected a triangular design that I readily identified as being the triquetra or Trinity. “Perhaps,” and with a smirk she rolled it within her fingertips until it was upside down, “what do you see, now?” “A heart” I retorted. “Ancient warriors wore this as a necklace. It helped them to be fierce in battle” the women informed as she swept the rest of the charms back into her apron pocket. “More tea?” she graciously offered, “By the way you must try one of these biscuits. I made them just before you arrived”. As she refreshed my cup, I marvelled at her crooked physique and delicate boney hands. “Do I remind you of someone?” “Yes” I mumbled while lost in recollection. At that moment our eyes locked and she nodded as if to say, “I know that person”. From another pocket, she pulled out a tiny rasp and started to file the triquetra. “As you have seen I have many. These scratches will make this one unique. There will never be one exactly like it ever.” As I brought my empty cup back onto the table she took my hand and placed the charm inside. I was just about to thank her for the gift but again, as if she knew what I was thinking, she said, ”This is not for you”.
There are times when something coincidentally occurs and we either choose to ignore it or trivialize it as folly. I chose to believe it. Upon receiving the symbol, the wind simultaneously blew the white tissue from the fingertips of my other hand. Gleefully, the old woman watched me follow its spiralling acrobatics and proudly exclaimed, “ So, you were about to ask whom this is for but I believe you know the answer!” “Hmmm," I said privately copying her smile, “…listen to the sound of the wind…from a distant land … cradled in the magic of a second.” A random warning honk evaporated the memory. The white napkin laid pressed against the road. Scanning the sky with a wave of her head, she cautioned “The wind can push the potential of the greatest explorers beyond the limitations of their imaginations then unceremoniously crush the same against the hardest of rocks. Your choice is true but not for the reason you believe. Those scratches on the charm will always remain. Don’t try to heal them. Forgive yourself and let go.”
With that thought I concluded that it was time to leave. My elderly friend gathered the remains of the bread, the butter, the teapot, and one cup. Mine? “That’s peculiar" I whispered, “where are all the other cups?” “I only came out to meet you, so only one cup was needed” she explained.
I entered into this story coming around a bend. I left the same way only in the pouring rain. “Don’t try to heal, let go” continued to resonate.
THE FIRST SEED
“The preservation of different cultured identities with a unique society, as a state or nation.”A definition of multiculturalism by dictionary.com
A group of travellers from a faraway land stood in front of a grand house with a large yard. The owner came out and welcomed them in. The travellers went into a room, closed the door, and immediately claimed it as theirs. The next day a different group of travellers from a faraway land stood in front of the house. The owner came out and welcomed them in. They, too, went into a room, closed the door, and immediately claimed it as theirs. For several days, the same event occurred, eventually all the rooms were claimed leaving the owner without one.
The owner knocked on the door of the first group. “You do not speak our language so you cannot come in.” The owner approached each group only to receive the same response. Oddly, the groups did not want speak to each other either preferring to remain within themselves. Over time, the rooms became too crowded. “The owner has a large yard, we will build ourselves another house” they all concluded. So, the owner’s gardens and trees were scraped away as each group created their own neighbourhood, some with walls, preferring to stay within themselves.
The owner, not having any more yard, went into each neighbourhood. “You do not speak our language so you cannot stay” was the response of all.
Canada is an Indigenous word meaning settlement. Their history is now buried underneath.
From afar, a stranger witnessed an odd ceremony. Caught within a chaotic whirl of brokenness, a toad, trying to climb from a hole, would reach out with absolute trust and grab onto a hand only to be dropped back, again and again. Puzzled, the stranger decided to walk over and inquire. Upon arrival, the toad was already waiting comfortably at the top. “If you are able to get out on your own accord, why do you latch on to the same hand that drops you back?” With a nod and shrug, the toad answered “To earn another one’s trust you have to take chances on yourself no matter how dark it seems.” As the stranger stood motionless, totally perplexed, and lost in a trance of deep thought, the toad started to limber away. “Toad! Why are you leaving?” With a wink the toad called back “My capacity to trust is limited. Be careful where you step!”
It feels safe now being protected by the impenetrable barrier. In the small space you can smell your own breath, your own body. The air continues to heat up. You close your eyes in hopes of hiding further from the fear. What is it? You envision the source as an apparition with a face, several faces actually. It carries a bucket of stones, a hammer, and a fist full of nine inch nails. It disguises a greeting with a smile as it calls you “stupid” in a language you don’t understand. “Follow our rules. Follow our rules and you’ll be happy!”
Anger and frustration slither into the space and grows and grows and grows. Rules? Invented rules on how to think, talk, and act! And they are enforced by the weapon of guilt controlling like strings on a puppet!
The explosion slaps your face with new air. You lie unrestrained. There is peace. A second chance to dream begins. From below the blanket morphs as if attempting to slowly mold itself into something else.
The blue truck rested on the gravel. Despite being old, it didn’t reflect its age. The chrome still gleamed. However, nobody cared to notice. The blue truck was nothing more than a blank negative space.
The person in covered in the blue blanket rested on the pavement. Despite appearing old, their internal spirit still gleamed. However nobody cared to notice. They saw a blank negative space.
You see but do not see. You see but do not visually comprehend therefore no memory is possible. No recollection, no story to be told. Did you not see that it’s a visual “playground” of subtle colours, object alignments, and patterns held together by a simple composition grid of large shapes hidden by perceived complexity? Do you at least notice the …pink.
Encompassed within a mystic haze, the trophy stood upon the altar, arms out proclaiming its goodness. Masses of the insecure reverently gathered in hopes of receiving blessings of encouragement, guidance, and inspiration. A clatter of voices broke the silence of the mist as a flock of crows polluted the sky with black expansive wings. “Your golden skin is fragile as ash, your insides are hollow!” they screamed. “But I’m a healer!” “Your claim is specious” they screamed again.
The rain began its dissolution. The sky grew blacker with a pouring of more black feathers.
This piece was inspired by the documentary, HIGHWAY of TEARS, directed by Matthew Smiley. The story of missing or murdered women mostly of whom are Indigenous, is humbly honoured.
Missing? The sun rose above the horizon just like it does every day. The sun dropped below the horizon just like it does every day. So what happened in between? The end.
The right to tell their story in full is a privilege that must be earned.
Under a toxic , purple sky, an angel stood alone motionless as if made of stone feeling torn and entangled in confusion. On the ground were shattered pieces of a dream. “Angel, what’s bothering you?” Looking up, the angel responded, “Why do you ask Master? You already know!” With a smile, the Master replied, “I just want to hear your voice”.
“I try. I try to be everything to everyone. I try but it seems at times… pointless. I feel discarded. Replaced. Angered. And why do you call me Angel? I have no wings!”
After a long moment, the wind swirled around the angel’s face like a pair of hands. “Angel! When you try to be everything to everyone, you are doing what I want you to do. But it is for MY glory not yours. You have claimed much fame from the wisdom you speak, but those words are MINE! Self-righteousness is an insult to true selflessness! And why do you reject MY guidance?”
The poignancy of the Master’s tone came as a brutal shock. “But, Master, I did call” the angel pleaded, remembering a painful moment of intense violation and despair, “but You did not answer.” “I sent you a messenger to whom you treated with indifference as if an enemy!”
The wind gently pressed against Angel’s face blotting out a tear. The Master held out His hand. “I return to you MY dream, good angel.”
Time doesn’t heal. Healing takes time. In fact, healing may never occur regardless of the amount of time. Years have now past and trees flourish over the violence dissolved in the soil. “Never again” was the shared sentiment.
Over time, like a weed, violence has taken root. It’s different this time, faceless and proud.
A million years of tectonic pressure had passed. I had zig-zagged the area thoroughly observing the ground and saw nothing. Perhaps the reason was the weather. It had been overcast with a persistent monochromatic grey mist that flattened all contours. But today, as The Star lifted above the horizon at the most precise and perfect angle, the shallow yet distinct shadows revealed an image. I had found the precious resource.
Inquiries regarding private sales, commissions, and public use rentals (staging, corporate promotions) can be made by contacting VJPdesign.
Ant discrepancies in pricing is subject to the Artist final decision. VJP
Proceeds from the sale of this work will be donated to Sara Boudreau. A previous student afflicted with Cerebal Palsy.
Proceeds from the sale of the work will be donated to the WCWRC in Winnipeg.