Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Chief Joseph's Words in Calligraphy

Here is a recent calligraphy piece I created with the words of  Chief Joseph,the Nez Perce leader who died in September of 1903. In his time, he was as well known as  current political leaders of today. Politics and art, nothing new, only our interpretation.
 I chose to write out these words in the Italic alphabet, using sepia brown ink, to convey a sense of timeliness.  I carved a grass design stamp, and applied green watercolor to  bottom edge to bring in the outdoors, and embellish the border.  As I often do with my Native quotes, I used feathers to decorate and lend a certain feeling and attention to the history of these words.
 I chose this quote because it still seems so relevant to us all, over 100 years later. " All men are brothers. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it..." . In 1873, Chief Joseph  negotiated with the government to stay on his historic and beloved Wallowa reservation northeastern Oregon. In 1877 the US reversed its policy and gave the tribe 30 days to relocate. Chief Joseph led his people on  a 1,170 mile fighting retreat,  trying to reach political asylum in Canada. Pursued by General Howard, the coverage by the newspapers led to wide recognition. He was caught; surrendered, and sent to the Colville Reservation, away from the rest of the tribe. There he  continued to speak  out eloquently against the injustices he saw.
 In 1903 he visited Seattle. Meeting  Edward Curtis, the photographer, led to the images of him that we have today. He also visited President Theodore Roosevelt. Always, he asked for the return of his lands.
I am drawn to the words of this man: their poetry; the relevance to the world today. I want my calligraphy to have meaning, as well as beauty.

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