For Beacon's Two Row Wampum Festival on Aug 3rd, Jon and I painted these 8' tall panels, which will be mounted on three-sided totems and displayed at the riverfront along others by local artists.
From the site: 'This is the 400 year anniversary of the Two Row Wampum Treaty, the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) and the new European Settlers (The Dutch)..
The Two Row Wampum Campaign organized by the Haudenosaunee and Neighbors of the Onondaga Naiton (NOON) is to bring attention to this treaty and to honor its vision today. They wish to come together in peace and harmony where each nation (the US and the Iroquois Confederacy) follow separate but parallel paths. This coming together also entails a spiritual duty to protect and preserve the environment for all future generations. They hope that we will all join together to honor this treaty and honor the sacred duty to mother earth. To publicize this effort the Haudenosaunee, along with non-native allies, will be paddling canoes from Syracuse down the Mohawk River to the Hudson, then down the Hudson River to NYC.'
After the event the totems will be installed in town 'as a reminder to our commitment of friendship, ecological stewardship, peace between peoples and living in parallel forever.'
It was a lot of fun to collaborate. We had a general idea of what we'd do with our themes of nature, the river, and friendship, and then let it evolve, brushing on layers of paint as we crawled around the floor. Jon cut some shapes out of wood to add dimension to the painted fish, leaves and faces. I don't often give myself the chance to improvise so freely while painting, nor to work with another person-- maybe the last time I did was with a friend at Better Farm-- it was the intense focus of painting for two 5-hour stretches (so we could power through it while we both had the time), combined with the improvisational element of riffing off someone else's style, and finding more than what we would have brought to the project had we worked separately on each panel.
I will post photos of the assembled totems at the festival in a couple of weeks!