Jan 9, 2013
OBJECTS AS WRITING
Researching and brainstorming for a potential outdoor piece that references rock art:
"People do not often realize that some marks on rock were created not only by people, but by supernatural and divine forces, too. Rock art in the Americas is often located at sacred sites, points of emergence, crossroads, or were placed at the time of some extraordinary event. The images served as reminders for humanity of valuable lessons given to them by divine means."
"Being a part of the primary source by lineage, we see "She-Who-Watches" [petrograph in Horse Theif Lake, WA] as a mnemonic artifact that marks and provides a connection to both ancient and personal history." Through oral history and lineage, the petrograph serves as a connection between ancient and personal histories, functioning both in the past and actively in the present.
"Many heirlooms found in family collections serve a similar purpose. The design and markings are a form of writing. And, while it is often said there was no widespread use of a written language in the pre-contact epochs of Native civilizations, this is simply not true, especially if one looks to petroglyphs throughout the land, site landmarks, the elaborate designs in wampum belts of the Haudensaunee people and the wood back books of the Lanape in the Eastern Woodlands... Navajo weavers use patterns to help the person remember a sequence of songs, prayers for protection, or a significant event. The weavers wove little bits of shell or feathers into the designs and referred to myths that would aid and protect the owner."
Excerpts from "The Story as Primary Source: Educating the Gaze" by Joe Feddersen and Elizabeth Woody
Woody, Elizabeth and Joe Feddersen, "The Story as Primary Source: Educating the Gaze," in Jackson Rushing [ed] Native American Art in the Twentieth Century. London and New York: Routledge; 1999: 174-177.