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The Heart Would Not Burn.


Ren De
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I haven’t been on the forum for a while… These are a couple of recent works. They are from a novel that grew from the ten years I lived and worked on First Nations reserves in the north of Manitoba and Ontario. The floral mandala is from beading in the Swampy Cree culture. The texture in the lettering is a photo of tanned moose hide. The figure is a character from the novel… a shape-shifting shaman called Agak (Raven in Ojibway). The picture without type is an imagined representation of the Wendigo from Cree, Saulteaux, and Ojibway cultures.  Hope all here have survived Covid and are faring well… 

image.jpeg

wendigo2.jpeg

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Thanks for sharing @Ren De

I like the first but I find the second one disturbing (which is completely my fault as I’m not educated enough to understand it). All the best!

M1 iPad Pro 11’ & iPad Pro 10.5 (both 256GB, Cellular), iPadOS 15.4.1

Affinity Photo v 1.10.5.280, Affinity Designer v 1.10.21, Affinity Publisher soon

 

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52 minutes ago, iuli said:

Thanks for sharing @Ren De

I like the first but I find the second one disturbing (which is completely my fault as I’m not educated enough to understand it). All the best!

The Wendigo is a kind of boogieman/evil spirit creature of the native American/FirstNations people. Other cultures have their own versions of this kind of creature as well, sometimes cannibalistic, sometimes not.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendigo

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4 hours ago, Arte said:

@Ren De nice work, though I wouldn't hang the second one on my wall. Don't want to scare the visitors. 🙂

I would hang it on my wall. Light and dark must both exist together in mythological harmony.

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.

These are not my own words but I sure like this quote.

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Thanks for your comments, guys. I probably would not hang the 2nd one in view of small children, sensitive pets, or civilized guests… 🙂 but AffilityJules has a point. Please forgive a wordy response. Those of you familiar with Goya (Spanish painter) may see similarities to “Saturn Devouring His Son” which partially inspired the illustration. But mostly it came from this encounter.

Many Cree people believe in a creature called the Wentigo that is driven by a cannibal spirit to eat human flesh. During my first year at Moose Lake I happened to be visiting Chief Tobacco and I asked him about this creature because someone had shown me a spot on a grass covered hillock near the lake shore that looked as if someone sat there leaving a print where the grass had died. They said a Wentigo had entered the village and the people began to chase it to drive it away. It became exhausted trying to escape and collapsed briefly on that spot. Since then no grass had grown there.

Chief Tobacco said that his grandfather and another relative were hunting one winter when they had found a Wentigo that was frozen. When they tried to thaw it near the fire it began to scream. They were frightened and decided to kill it by adding more wood to make a huge fire. The fire consumed the Wentigo completely except for its heart which would not burn.

I later came across a book that examined several R.C.M.P. cases involving murders in isolated northern communities where the suspects believed they had been possessed by a Wentigo spirit and felt an irresistible hunger for the flesh of their own family members. The topic of the book was the Wentigo Psychosis - which has been recorded in medical journals.

I believe it is possible the stress of isolation in harsh winter conditions where the spectre of starvation still resides in the memories of some of the people could have caused the psychotic condition in some of the book examples. However, I think the other stories I had heard had more reasonable explanations such as a possible spill of gasoline from one of the boats that are often pulled out of the water close to the spot where the grass does not grow.

 

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Great work, inspired by the intriguing First Nation culture, that includes many aspects totally unknown by the current ignorant consumer culture. I got flashbacks of Howard Terpning's 'Blood Man' painting watching the image on the top. Your communication with First Nation residents must have been an enriching experience, which shows in your artwork.

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Thanks VectorWhiz. Just had a look at Terpning’s “Blood man”. Wow, I am honoured to be mentioned in the same post as him. The whole experience in the north beginning in 1975 was one of my greatest adventures. I’m so grateful to the people I met for their kindness and teachings. Trappers, hunters, fishermen, teachers, storekeepers, leaders, shaman, such a rich and varied group. At that time there were no telephones, no all-weather roads, travel was by snowmobile, or dog teams in winter and by air or boat on the rivers in summer. My respect for them is boundless.

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Should have added truck to winter travel. A bone-rattling road was plowed 80 miles through the forest and muskeg to The Pas from Moose Lake when the ice was thick enough to support a grader. 🙂

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