Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ghost Dancer sculptural installation

When Sarah Fimm asked me if I wanted to be involved in an awareness raising outdoor art installation at the Bearsville Theater for Seva, just outside of Woodstock, I went to work imagining the piece. I knew that they did work in various countries repairing eyesight. My own mother recently lost her vision. Although I couldn't replace her sight, maybe I could help fund the needed health care for others. After doing fourteen collages, all dealing with the dance between two people from a decidedly feminine perspective, I thought I knew exactly what I would sculpt. The sculpture would be related to the artwork that had  been being produced since November of 2011.

Then I had a vivid dream and saw Ghost Dancer. As I woke, I heard the words resounding in my head "Make me".  What I found out later that morning was that the sculpture would serve the Seva's Native American Community Health Program which has been working to reverse Type 2 diabetes within these communities. 

Eighteen days from start to finish; it was a marathon run to make the deadline of June 18th. It started with drawings, of the armature, of the inner sctructure that would be laid on top of that, and the final layer, which would be seen. It had to be completely waterproofed. Despite being laid with plastic and my utmost care, the studio floor was littered in scraps of wood, chicken wire bits, small pellets of plaster, carving tools, twine and coffee cups. I learned quickly, turn on the light and don't walk through the studio barefoot! 

The horse was found online. Amazingly it was exactly as in the dream! Every detail perfect, down to the pink of the bridle. He was laid into two separate bricks of cement to ensure that he didn't topple in a summer rain storm. 

Today, June 30th, is the big debut at the Bearville Theater, where I will have the opportunity to share this intimate journey with a larger community. 

Ghost Dancer represents the ecological challenges we now must honestly face. How do we each best serve our dear planet and ourselves? This outdoor sculptural installation reminds us that once the Native Americans lived within our localities in a natural context. Now the world is surrounded by overwhelming artificiality and plastic, which has replaced the indigenous way of life. Like the Ghost Dancer himself, we must ponder on where we go from here. Seva means service. It refers to selfless service altruistically offered on behalf of and for the betterment of community. What can we each do to better serve our beautiful mother Earth, who gives to fulfill our every need?

And me? I will spend the day sharing him and giving thanks for the skill set that allowed this seed to grow. 

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