EQ in 2015: Homecoming

 Hello World! An update about Eternal Queens Crew in 2015! We’ve been working from the heart this year and are ready to serve up some new fresh flows to feed ya soul + and quench the thirst for the Eternal Queendom (you thirsty?? I know you are!).

Claire and I have been collaborating again with one of our favorite soul sistren Laila Espinoza on a new art show: Home Is Where the Art Is.

The theme of the show, HOME, invites us to collectively explore…What does home really mean? In our increasingly complex and multicultural global community, how do we maintain a sense of home-ness? Where is that? Who is there? What do we do with it? How/What do we create there? Is our home life art?

The show and these questions are matched with our Art Residence Manifesto:

In response to the increasingly growing gap between art and life as well as the the limited opportunities for under-represented artists in accessing spaces for art making and exhibiting, we establish the home as art space.

Because we don’t wait for opportunity, but instead create our own opportunities with whatever means and resources we have readily available to us,

Because we see everyday objects (natural and man-made) as meaningful art materials,

Because our homes are not just for living but for creating as well,

Because our home is the studio where creative ideas are born out of everyday life experiences,

Everyday activities and experiences shall not be separate from art.

With that in mind, Myself, Claire, Laila, and her son Nyanga, worked for 2 months together to build an installation within her home. Most importantly, we gathered. Spent time together. Cooked together, ate together and drank together, we danced, had family time, and allowed for unrestricted play and unraveled a free and unbridled unrestrictive creative process to ensue.

It sounds simple. And it a way it is. Presence with each other IS simple. In our increasingly digitized world, we become separate, alone, and as artists, sometimes our works can consume us. Our studios, depending on where they are can be isolating, and even cave like.

 

But at our artist residency in Laila’s home, that was opposite. We had no rules, everyone who came in to be a part of our gathering is an artist too. From her 6 year old son, who is a visionary painter already, to our partners, neighbors, and friends who would pop in for a moment. Hot pancakes and food would be shared and a paintbrush offered to their hand. When we create together, we heal together. It’s unavoidable. We become indestructible.

The PROCESS was ELEVATING, VISIONARY, ENERGIZING, and REVOLUTIONARY. We laughed until our sides ached, and slowly with each stroke created a friction that stands in opposition of the institutionalized narratives of “high art” “gallery art”. Our gallery is at home, where the family is, for the family, for our community to understand, feel, and reap the benefits from.

I remember Laila saying, “If my family can’t understand it, there is no point in making it for me”. Its an important question, who do you make your art for? Why?

At times I felt as if we were the many stars twinkling in galaxies. Shineing, burning up in intense heat, chaos and beauty all raveled into one. Deep connection, creative expansion, and collaboration with friends is art, it is home, those ideals don’t need to be separated and shouldn’t be.

Claire was our documentarian, historian, and captured our process on camera. She is putting together a short video to recap our stories. More to come soon J.

For me, the most important part of this was to breaking out of my habitual creative patterns and build with womxn who have their own unique styles. While Claire, Laila, and I all share passion for art that celebrates women, and we all include themes of spirituality and feminism in our work, we each bring a powerful piece of the puzzle to the whole.unnamed-1

So to work along side these two queens was a blessing, they are my teachers. Nyanga, Laila’s 6 year old is my teacher. His freedom and limitless expression is so perfect. This process was like a full circle, returning to the parts of creating that STARTED me to create in the first place—being with friends, having fun, and having no limitations. A childlike and playful mind is a valuable asset in this life that can be way too serious sometimes.

Having them mirror my work and finding commonalities, sharing stories, and influencing each other is a gift.

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IMPORTANT PROCESS POINT: to create with people you care about. To break out of boxes of ‘traditional art’, to challenge the idea of what/where art is/should be, and make your home a sacred space for connection and creating. In our hyper speed 24/7 culture where NOT stopping to connect in person is the norm, its crucial that we create and hold MORE spaces for each other to make art, build friendships, and come together.

I’d love to hear your ideas on what home is for you and how you create art in the home! Feel free to share in comments! Peace & Love my brothers and sisters!

HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS OPENS ON SATURDAY, APRIL 18th IN EAST OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA. MORE VIDEO AND PICTURES TO COME SOON!

-Samantha
Eternal Queens

Mary Rockwood Lane: Artist, Healer, Visionary, Teacher, Goddess

Hi! Sam here. Just wanted to share a story that is deeply meaningful to me. I met Mary Rockwood Lane, PhD, RN, FAAN when I was about 20, and I was going through a really difficult time in my life dealing with the backlash of psychological and physical trauma that I had experienced in my adolescence, which MANY women do. She was my teacher in school, and her work really put me onto a path of using art as tool to heal my entire life from the inside out. I owe a lot to this woman, her fierce and unapologetic approach to life, her passion, her laughter, intellect and spirit really taught me unbounded lessons about freedom and self-love. Thank you, Mary, I love you! – Sam, EQ

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Mary Rockwood Lane, PhD, RN, FAAN, experienced art and healing first hand as she painted herself out of a severe depression during a divorce. She took what she learned from this experience and became the co-founder and co-director of the Arts in Medicine program at University of Florida, Gainesville.
Here she tells her story:

Mary’s story
Several years ago, I rediscovered the artist within and used art to heal myself. I was extremely ill at the time and going through a very difficult divorce. I was outraged, depressed and out of control. My support network had collapsed and everything was being taken away from me. Surrounded by my grief, I felt like I was drowning in darkness and despair. Therapy wasn’t helping. Finally my therapist said, “It’s time for you to do something different with your rage and your grief.”

I had always dreamed of being a painter but had never given myself permission to be one. “I’m just not good enough,” I would tell myself. But now my world was collapsing and the fear of inadequacy seemed trivial compared to my painful loss. I walked out of the therapist’s office and into the gray drizzle. Life seemed to be going on without me. Stopping before a large puddle, I stared down at my reflection in the murky water and imagined myself sinking into the mud. Just then a car came to a slow stop nearby. It was my friend Lee Ann, a painter. She rolled down her window and called out, “Why don’t I take you to breakfast and then over to my studio so that you can start painting?”

Sitting in her studio, I remembered how I had always wanted to be an artist. This was a part of me that I had never acknowledged or honored. Right then, in a lucid moment, I decided to abandon all my fears of being a painter. Although I didn’t even know how to hold a paintbrush, I selected a large piece of canvas to work on. Flipping though several magazines for ideas, I came across a picture of a woman who was broken and distorted. What a familiar feeling! And so I started painting.

I became excited with the sheer process of painting: the colors of paint, the textures, and the way different shapes swirled together on canvas. The painting began to transform into an image of my pain and hurt. I forgot about how I felt and instead painted those feelings. I worked feverishly, releasing my energy passionately onto canvas.

Making no attempt to define myself or my process, I began a series of self-portraits. They were all distorted in the beginning, with garish backgrounds. But I was too absorbed in the pure expression and gesture of painting to let that bother me. I called my first self-portrait Cut Out My Heart. It was my pain, a deeply intense and dying pain. The figure was broken, distorted, crumpled, crying, and bleeding. This figure had been my despair, my uncensored and purely emotional energy. When I finished releasing the image onto canvas, I stepped back and gasped! What I saw was an aspect of myself that I couldn’t face; it was so ugly! I had let go on an intense emotional and physical level. I backed away, left the studio and went home.

When I returned, I had an incredible insight. I saw that the painting had captured genuine expression from a moment of time that was now behind me. I had moved past it. I was actually witnessing my own transformation! Throughout the series of self-portraits, I continuously struggled with form and perspective. Metaphorically I was recreating my inner form and inner perspective. The external creative process mirrored my inner world. The manifestation of movement and change was powerful and it was a process of knowing myself.

As I immersed myself in painting, I not only became well, but clearly became the artist I had always wanted to be. I remember the moment that I truly felt empowered as an artist. I experienced a sudden shift and encountered something within that was healing. There was an aspect of me that rejuvenated my spirit and I began to feel stronger and more alive. By seeing my pain on canvas, I could step away from it.

I was the artist; my pain was the art. And I was free.

From her website, Maryrockwoodlane.com