WELCOME TO MY ARTBLOG! I dedicate this blog to the infinite WISDOM, CREATIVITY, and SACRED DREAMING POWERS of my ANISHINAABE ANCESTORS. They knew that everything in Creation has MANIDOO, or SPIRIT. The PLANTS, the TREES, the WATER, the WIND, the ROCKS, the MOUNTAINS have MANIDOO. The SKY SPIRITS have MANIDOO. I try to put some of that MANIDOO in my jewelry creations and in the TEACHING STORIES that I share along with my art and that of kindred artists. MII I'IW, CHI-MIIGWECH.
Boozhoo, aaniin indinawemaaganag, gidinimikoo miinawaa: Hello relatives, I greet you again in a good way!
I am Zhaawano Giizhik. Welcome to part 7 of my blog series titled Teachings from the Tree of Life. Today I share with you a Teaching about the nature of what my Anishinaabe ancestors calledniibawiwin, or marriage, which was considered the strongest of bonds. The Teaching is woven around a beautiful painting by Anishinaabe Medicine Painter M. Kinoshameg and a pen-and-ink drawing by myself, as well as a set of wedding rings that I designed at my workbench.
To the Anishinaabeg, a wiijiwaagan(literally, “he or she who goes with”) is a life partner to commit to unconditionally, to walk and be with in all the joys and sorrows andthrough all aspects of bimaadiziwin(life).
The overlay wedding bands that feature today's story are titled bakidaabikamon. Its literal tanslation is “The Road Goes over a Rocky Hill.” The rings weredesigned in the spirit of my Anishinaabe ancestors, whose teachings have always been parabolic and aimed at gaining wisdom by experience and reflection. The rings are hand-hammered of 14K palladium white gold and 14K red gold (left) and 14K palladium yellow gold and 14K red gold (right).
The texture of the ring surfaces is almost fluid, of various ranges from rough all the way to smooth and everything in between. This “organic”, or “sculptural” effect, created with the aid of a blow torch, files, and the hammer blow technique, reflects the capricious nature and the paradoxes of our earthly existence. The ring set contains a metaphor of peaks and valleys, the obstacles and possibilities that two lovers encounter as they walk the matrimonial road and must overcome together...
Giiwenh. So goes the Teaching Story about the nature of niibawiwin and what it traditionally means to the Anishinaabeg Peoples of the great Turtle Island...Miigwechgibizindaw noongom mii dash gidaadizookoon. Thank you for listening to my storytelling today.Giga-waabamin wayiiba, I hope to see you again soon...
¹Source: Basil Johnston, Ojibway Ceremonies, University of Nebraska Press Lincoln and London, First Bison Book printing 1990, p.p. 91, 92.
About the author and his sources of inspiration:
My name is Zhaawano Giizhik. As an American artist and jewelry designercurrently living in the Netherlands. I like to draw on the oral and pictorial traditions of my Ojibwe Anishinaabe ancestors from the American Great Lakes area. For this I call on my manidoo-minjimandamowin, or "Spirit Memory"; which means I try to remember the knowledge and the lessons of my ancestors. The MAZINAAJIMOWINAN or ‘‘pictorial spirit writings’’ - which are rich with symbolism and have been painted throughout history on rocks and etched on other sacred items such as copper and slate, birch bark and animal hide - were a form of spiritual as well as educational communication that gave structure and meaning to the cosmos. Many of these sacred pictographs or petroforms – some of which are many, many generations old - hide in sacred locations where the manidoog (spirits) reside, particularly in those mystic places near the coastline where the sky, the earth, the water, the underground and the underwater meet.