|Video Stills from “Skeleton Tree Dance” Jan 2017|
I woke up this morning thinking two things.
1. I really should start working on an artist’s statement for “I Am Usha.”
2. I am at an age where many people have reached the top of their field.
And then, as I so often like to do, I completely deconstructed both of those concepts until I was staring at scattered piles of assumptions, ready to be reassembled into something that resonates with my frequencies.
Let’s start with number 2. What an interesting phrase. Is the field on a hill? Or has the person who has reached the top, like Yertle the Turtle, merely piled the other less fortunate, less ambitious, and less opportunistic into a mountain onto which to climb? The mere concept of a winner relies on the existence of a loser, or many losers. The more losers, the higher the winner rises.
Some people will tell you this is the way of the world. Others will insist it is human nature. And still others will look toward nature itself as a justification for the competition model of human behavior… law of the jungle, survival of the fittest. One can look at world history and into nature to find a certain logic to this theory and stop looking further. This is a narrow search, the place where many have chosen to remain, having found the answer they were seeking.
Or… one can widen the search. One can search for and discover the history and the anthropology and the systems that wait patiently, just outside of the mainstream. There are answers that you will never find unless you ask more questions. There are voices you can’t hear unless you get very very quiet. You have to be listening for something you’ve never heard before, something which at first might sound like a hallucination, or look like a mirage. The unfamiliar always enters this way, always finding a way in. Let your senses adjust and stay with it. This is how we widen the search.
I have spent my life wandering through fields. I can often be found on the edges, where the well trodden paths mark the way, reminding me I’m not the only one wandering. I look down and see the coyote track, the deer track and the evidence of a system in flux, always striking a balance. I have wandered through many fields, some lush with life and some deadened with chemicals and overuse. Some in dormancy and some in their prime. Witnessing the nature of fields from the ground has taught me many things, things I never would have understood if I insisted on climbing to a pinnacle.
“I Am Usha” is the Cartography of the Unseen World, always witnessed in fleeting glimpses, wandering low along the edges. Every piece of art is created as a marker along a path, a path that runs parallel to the deer paths on the edges of the fields, in a world where the human eye does not adjust to the wavelengths of light. One sees with the heart, discovering a new form of communication within the body that has been patiently waiting to be awoken. When I am creating from this place, a direct line from my heart to my hand guides me. With great trust and an even greater love for the process, I make art. I leave my own prints in the soil of consciousness, not to rise or fall in the drama of the world, but to mark my path in this parallel place.
“Usha” is no more than a name, my name in my Ancestors’ language. It is simply “Dawn.” A name for transition, for the darkest time at the moment before light. In this strange moment of flux, one sees with the heart what the eyes cannot decipher. After my own personal transition from grief and detachment to acceptance and forgiveness, I have the strength and confidence to claim my name. I claim it as my own, if only to offer it as my gift, a Gift of a Map for the Travelers to Come.