Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tomah I (Myrna Loy Center Show): Pages from the Helena Landscape Notebook

[Label:]My current work, supported by the Myrna Loy grant I received this year, is focused on the sacred landscape of Helena.

All over the world, landscapes are marked by sacred mountains, springs, and caves. As seen in Native American traditions and stories, and in such cultural traditions as Chinese Taoist Feng Shui, the land has a life-energy of its own. We can add to this also military and historical sites, family camping, ranching, and hunting memories and traditions, Christian and Buddhist ways of living, and conservation of our natural resources. Everyone has a special place that is sacred to them, whether it is a special place in nature or the old family place. And if that place is destroyed by the unthinking, the wounds go deep and may never be healed.

On the left is a microcosm, a model of the Helena Valley as the central place in our world as Helenans, marked out by the circumference of mountains and other features. There are multiple landscapes, each with their own center or heart. On the right, there is one of these sacred landscapes, in this case the Catholic landscape, with the St. Helena Cathedral as the heart of that sacred landscape. Besides the Catholic landscape layer seen here, there are many other significant sacred and mysterious landscape layers in and around Helena, such as that of military shrines and graves, of freemasonry, of Native American traditions and archaeological sites of the Blackfeet (Piegan), Flathead (Salish), Kootenai, Shoshone, and others.

[Media: pen/ink, pencil on paper]

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