The closing paragraphs excerpted below, with images relayed from the website of artist Scott Hocking, documenting his 2006 installation titled Animals.
About the “Animals” installation, Hocking writes:
ANIMALS is a collaborative mixed media installation of over 40 painted fiberglass animals – a response to politically correct and decorative public art contests, hosted by cities and towns worldwide. Each animal is altered based on the circumstances or environment true to that animal, and then painted in an arbitrary pc manner.
We have recently returned from a Maine island sanctuary & reading retreat where we devoured books and local food in more or less equal abundance. Among the books, we highly recommend To Speak For the Trees by the brave and brilliant Diana Beresford-Kroeger.
During these fading days of summer, we offer the following powerful passages from an essay by Lyla June Johnson, an Indigenous public speaker, artist, scholar and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages from Taos, New Mexico. Her songs, poem and essays focus on Indigenous rights, supporting youth, traditional land stewardship practices and healing inter-generational and inter-cultural trauma. Images added by DP.
Five years after water protector Berta Cácere’s brutal murder, Honduran courts have finally brought a degree of justice in convicting the alleged “mastermind” behind the plot, Roberto David Castillo Mejía, military intelligence officer and former general manager and president of the Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA) hydroelectric company.
“This historic ruling takes on even greater importance because it highlights the value of the defence of nature and the rights of indigenous peoples and rural communities. It is a landmark ruling that exposes through the courts the responsibility of companies, not only of their devastating role in the destruction of vital resources, but also in the persecution and elimination of people and organisations that oppose their destructive greed. The ruling highlights the strength of unity and struggle in the demand for truth and justice; a struggle that had as great protagonists the courage and dignity of her family, of COPINH, of all the people who gave themselves to this cause of humanity. I join in the joy that Berta vindicated, the joy of victories. This is a victory with the taste of a feat, because achieving truth and justice in the courts that have historically favoured the crimes of power is a feat. This victory is transcendental, but it does not mean the end of the road in the fight against impunity for the assassination of our comrade Berta“, said Reynaldo Villalba, Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights.
In memory of Berta’s fearless Lenca spirit, we relay links and writings from an earlier DP:
BERTA CÁCERES, SHAKER OF THE HUMAN CONSCIENCE
From her speech in acceptance of the Goldman Prize, the year before she was murdered:
And finally, a video of the entire speech: Berta Cáceres, presente!
We a grateful to a DP correspondent for reminding us of an essay by scientist, writer and citizen of the Potawatomi Nation Robin Kimmerer. First published by Orion in 2017, the essay becomes ever more relevant with each passing day. Excerpts below, interwoven with images of braided sweetgrass relayed from Whispering Wind.
Now comes artist Maya Lin with an NYC Madison Square installation created from forty-nine white cedar trees transplanted from the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The project raises numerous questions, both exposing and embracing an ethos of human dominion over nature.
Image and text relayed from the project’s website, followed by a link to a documentary video.
Now comes Mark Bittman, author of the recently publishedAnimal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal.
Interview excerpts below, with images mirrored from the website of artist Pamela Michelle Johnson.
About her work, artist Pamela Michelle Johnson writes:
Teetering towers of hamburgers, drippy stacks of syrupy waffles, sticky piles of sugary candy… Junk food. It’s the taste of America. It is what we eat. It is who we are. The insatiable American appetite is set on a path of consumption. Devouring to the point where we are left with nothing, nothing but the consequential garbage. Quintessentially American, junk food is not just part of our diet, it epitomizes our cultural ideals and social norms. Through my work, I strive to invoke reflection on a culture focused on mass-consumption and mass-production, where the negative aspects of overindulgence are often forgotten or ignored. The work questions a culture that equates fulfillment, pleasure and happiness with what we consume.
Whether it is gluttonous quantities of larger than life junk food or the solitary empty wrapper, abandoned soon after devouring was complete, the images are charged with social relevance. The work flaunts our culture back at us. It questions embracing a culture of complete and instant gratification while ignoring the consequences of our indulgences. The work questions many of our cultural ideals and social norms. These are the pictures of our insatiable appetites; they are the pictures of the consequences. The heightened realism of these paintings serves to remind viewers that this is a mirror to our culture.
On the day after Earth Day, we relay the voice of Melanie Yazzie, Diné co-founder of The Red Nation, a grassroots Indigenous liberation organization, and assistant professor of Native American studies and American studies at University of New Mexico. Excerpts from yesterday’s Democracy Now interview below, with images of a Raven Portrait Mask by Janice Morin, mirrored from the Raven Makes Gallery.