Art Lessons From Jazz
Be in the moment. Create from the deepest human feelings & design from the highest level of artistic sophistication.
As I stood on this boardwalk looking out over Lake Ontario, the circumstances of my life yielded clarity. I understood every tear, my feelings of loneliness and my fear that I would never have a man of my own with whom I could share romantic love. Standing on the earth at our historical Algonquin Gathering Place, I understood myself. It was one of those Aha moments, when all the layers of self are painfully scrubbed away and the inter most core of my being was experiencing the sharpness of the breeze blowing across the lake. At this moment in time, I understood the circumstances of my life, from conception to the breath of the moment. Life is a painful lesson!
Getting myself to Toronto was a difficult journey. I had to push myself through the swampy bogs of The Blues. It’s a lifetime of sorrows turned into happiness that got me from Daniel Hill in Wilson, North Carolina to Indigenous Fashion Week in Toronto, Canada. It’s one of God’s miracles.
My story is an Algonquin one, from a Skaru:re Toisnot point of view. My story is in two parts: place and memory. Art created from places on the land that sustain us, and memories of moments shared that strengthen us. I begin being born at Mercy Hospital and taken to Daniel Hill to a double Shotgun house with Mama on one side, Yat on the other and Ms. Doretta’s tribe around the corner. When I came to know myself as me, that was my world. Daniel Hill – a community of Algonquin and West African people, who sustained a cultural connection to creativity and valued handmade.
The only child born to many mothers because I grew up in an Algonquin style Moon Lodge between Minnie, Mat & Head Lady Mis’ Doretta. Mis’ Doretta had twelve children spread out from my Momma’s age to mine. She was famous for baking cakes but she also managed the quilting circle. She was no drama and by the time I was seven I knew I wanted her way of living as a woman.
I was born into a dysfunctional family dynamic in a household controlled by my mother’s mother and the mean man she was married to. It was emotional drama between her husband and two daughters with different fathers. I had figured out by age seven that all your children needed to have the same father if you wanted joy and contentment in your home. Mis’ Doretta was my living example.
Daniel Hill is the place! Memories shared are with connections to “The Hill’s” legacy. I’m humbled to be selected to share a place in Indigenous Fashion Week. It has brought me to my Algonquin family and to a place of knowing that only comes from connections to sacred places.