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Friday, February 24, 2012

Teaching Stories, part 6

"The Fire Within"

Updated October 26, 2019


Ishkode Biinjina



Today's blog story features an acrylic on canvas Simone painted in Manidoo Giizisoons, the Little Spirit Moon, December 2012. It is the first in a series of canvases Simone titled Ishkode Biinjina, which comes from the Ojibwe Anishinaabe language meaning "The Fire Within".

I think it is safe to say this is the first in a long line of paintings that marks a new direction Simone was taking after a long unhappy period of searching for spiritual and artistic freedom.

The painting also honors a great friendship that will last forever.  

Simone McLeod Ishkode Biinjina
remember that when I saw the painting for the first time it felt like gazing in wonderment at the natural beauty and sublimity of WAAWATE - the northern lights -, the reflection of the campfires with which the grandfathers illuminate the northern skies. 

It's almost as if the glow of the fire that burns inside the two persons in the painting is reflected in the sun and the campfires in the skies...

Simone explained the painting to me as follows:

"This painting is a depiction of when two people are bound by trust, respect, and harmony. There are not enough words to fully explain the emotions that I felt when I saw this on the green background even before I knew what I was going to put on it. It was already in there waiting for my hands to finish it. The sun, the two friends and the essence of fire are all connected by the color of yellow and red, the rocks are a foundation built on mother earth. You just have to look at them to see and appreciate the true emotion that they share, as if there is nothing else in the world but them. This is a gift that is all too rare...""



Held in the warmth
Of love's embrace
Safe and secure
Looking at your face

Feeling your hand

So gentle and sure
You pull me close
With such allure

Last on my mind

When I seek sleep
First in my heart
Wake from the deep

The fire within

Burns strong and true
When you whisper
"I love you"

- Simone McLeod, January 13, 2014


Read part 7 in the Teaching Stories series.


Aki-egwaniizid miinawaa Zhaawano Giizhik/Wenoondaagoziwid Webaashi


About the authors/artists:

Simone McLeod (her traditional name is Aki’-egwaniizid, which is an Ojibwe name meaning "Earth Blanket") is a Cree/Anishinaabe painter and poet, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1962. She belongs to he Name doodem (Sturgeon clan) of her mother's people, the Azaadiwi-ziibi Nitam-Anishinaabeg (Poplar River First Nation) of Manitoba. Simone descends from a long line of Midewiwin seers and healers and artists. Her artwork has been appreciated by several art collectors and educational and health care institutions from Canada, as well as by art lovers from all over the world.

Zhaawano Giizhik, an American currently living in the Netherlands, was born in 1959 in North Carolina, USA. Zhaawano has Anishinaabe blood running through his veins; the doodem of his ancestors from Baawiting (Sault Ste. Marie, Upper Michigan) is Waabizheshi, Marten. As an artist and a writer and a jewelry designer, Zhaawano draws on the oral and pictorial traditions of his ancestors. In doing so he sometimes works together with kindred artists. He has done several art projects with Simone and hopes to continue to do so in the future.


1 comment:

  1. The wind remains, the sky remains.
    Let us not upset the balance of nature by man's intervention.