Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Stories - Creating Meaning for Ourselves and Our Future Children

Lately I have been inspired by  Aminah Robinson’s Ragmud Collection
Robinson created a interactive journal called her Ragmud Collection. The set of books was begun in 1987 when her son was a third year engineering student at The Ohio State University.

“From the time of his birth, it was all that I had to give him,” said Robinson of the inspiration for the work. “I said that I’ve got to do some special books for him. I felt that the books would make a difference in his life and in the lives of his children and all to come. They would belong to the children and the children of the community.”
Robinson had planned to complete the set in 1989, by the time her son graduated from his five-year course of study. That turned out to be far too optimistic.   It actually took 22 years.

Her Great-Aunt Cordelia was born into slavery on Sapelo Island, Ga. Earlier ancestors called Angola home. Thirteen generations of her family have lived on land that is now part of Columbus, and she is mentoring her nephew to carry on the traditions and stories of her family, extended family and greater community.
"My work and life are about Columbus, Ohio ... the community, ancestors and spirits," says Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, 63, who has just received the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center commission to create the signature piece of public art for the building's 5,000-square-foot Welcome Hall

I was especially thinking about our stories in relation to the medicines that are in the rain forest that the "next" generation doesn't know anything about. How our modern society makes our past obsolete to the next generation.  We become disenfranchised or disconnected from what we know.  The knowledge of medicimal plants was given over to the corporations, to "them"...those that make our diseases and medicines.

I  just got through reading the trilogy by Pearl Buck The Good Earth, The Sons, and A House Divided.  It really highlights the whole progression of families as they change and as their relationship to the land changes.  Also as their "gods" change, or governments change, or medicines change, their mode of transportation changed, the wars changed them, the white man coming in changed them.  What was valued in one generation is challenged in the next.  I think this is because of progress and everything moving forward....Ultimately CHANGE.  But in this murky water we want something we can hold on to and these are our stories.

I am listening to The Hare With the Amber Eyes.  He inherits 250 netsuke.  The book is about his quest to find out about them and why they were collected by his family and how they survived two wars.  In  doing this he uncovers family stories.  The Charles, that first bought them in the late 1800's, bought them as a collection of 250 and they all stayed together in a curio case called a tureen. Charles and Proust wrote about him as Swan in Swan's Way.  He hung aroudn the salon's in Paris and was a patron to the impressionist artist.

His family was on the same level as Rothschild, they were a Jewish banking family.   This family lost all their money and possessions in the WW2.

Our things create a sort of myth around us.  I think this is why we like to see the homes of the rich and famous.  If we look at the objects that we have we will find the stories in them.  They represent some kind of identity that we are attached to.  Even our holidays and tradition contain our stories.  When they don't get celebrated then our story changes.

. What are our stories?  And look at how our stories were made from the outside.  Oil embargo, recessions, wars and rumors of wars, crashes, lose of jobs, maraital status, deaths, births, political decisions.  These are also part of our story even if they are part of a larger group of people

I was thinking about leaves, I found this metaphor when reading Bambi and I created the barrette "the Leaves of Change".  The leaves were all about history, that had fallen off the hands of time (trees)...or leaves to a book...and in the forest the leaves give the deer warning that something is  coming.  I think this is the real  history that is valuable to our children.  the history that makes sense of the world that we live in.

And so where would you start this history? 

In the beginning...

1 comment:

  1. Just a very lovely post. The videos are well chosen and I was delighted to be introduced to Aminah Robinson's work. Amazing.
    I've enjoyed looking over your blog and your work is lovely. I'll stop by more often. May the new year bring you lots of creative stitching--I think you're off to a good start!
    best from Tunisia,