‘From Her’ painting by Amber Samaya
Dear Musea Members and Guest readers,
Today marks a threshold crossing from our March monthlong exploration of our relationship with CREATIVITY, to our next relationship exploration in the area of ECOLOGY. What does it to explore our ecological relationships?
Let’s first explore the dictionary definition of Ecology.
1: a branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environments
2: the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment
As you can see ecology is actually the science of the interrelationship of organisms with their environments. As human beings, we are in a direct relationship with the environment around us. The earth is literally our life support system, providing us with air, water, food, warmth, shelter, beauty, and all that we need to survive and thrive. Human culture and creativity is only possible because we are sustained and invigorated by the natural world. We are in a kincentric relationship with nature, completely interrelated and interdependent, and fully participating at all times, whether we are aware or not.
In exploring your relationship with ecology – i.e. your place in the web of life that sustains you – you are able to offer a more conscious witness and acknowledgment of your interdependence with the natural world. This April our Museum is hosting the Mother Tree Museum Show and TreeSisters Fundraiser on April 20, and many nations around the world will also be honoring Earth Day happening April 22. We felt that focusing on our relationship with ecology and the environment this month would be a wonderful exploration to do in community supported by these events and the cultural shift towards honoring the earth!
The Mother Tree art call invited earth honoring artwork from women, expressing their love and advocacy of our global forests. Art is one of the many languages that can be used as a medium to communicate our love and gratitude for the earth. Consider how many artists since the beginning of time have painted, carved or sculpted the landscapes, animals, birds, sea creatures, or mountains that so inspired and informed them at a soul level. Have you ever been to a place out in nature that touched you so profoundly that you feel the need to honor it? Perhaps you leave an offering, say a prayer of gratitude, take a photo to share and celebrate it, or maybe you yourself have gone home to draw or paint what you saw – bringing witness to it through the creative work of your own hands. This is a month in which we encourage our members to to really pay attention to what is calling to you in the natural world. This is as simple as standing outside and listening to the rain, watching the birds fly, feeling the sand between your toes, watching seedlings spring up, buds blossom, leaves decay, worms wriggle – simply being present and fully aware of the beauty, power, and interconnectedness of nature and your place within it.
In many indigenous cultures, there is no distinct word for ‘nature’ that is separate from human beings. The word ‘nature’ arose in the English language connected to a culture of domination which included in its ethos the idea that humans could be separate from nature, and could overcome or rise above its constraints. On the contrary, for many indigenous cultures across the globe, this idea is antithetical to human life and wellbeing. Within our MUSEA community, many of us are seeking to repair our relationship with the natural world, healing the disconnection and fracturing that occurred so long ago in history, with the impacts of the agricultural and industrial revolutions and rise of technologies of ecological control. Many of us are practicing land acknowledgments, learning about and building relationships with the indigenous stewards of the lands where we live, as well as learning about the plants, animals, waterways, and all other living beings that are around us in our ecosystems. In doing this, we are establishing our ties of kinship to the natural world around us, re-integrating with it, and learning to be in reciprocity.
To support us in taking positive loving actions toward the earth, we have started a fun community-wide #ecoartchallenge for the month of April in our iMusea App. We are inviting members to share with us the art products, practices, tips and tricks that are earth honoring and ecologically sound. If you are already an iMusea App member, you can read the post explaining it here, and consider what want to share with us!
I am excited to see how we will collectively honor the earth this month!
~ Amber Samaya, Intentional Creativity Foundation President