"Whoop de do" by Kim Shuck, June 2010 Artist-in-Residence
It's been a long month and my brain is getting sluggish. Fortunately there were many people I liked around today.
I gave an interview and found out how tired I am then headed in to work. Gallery time was relatively uneventful. One lovely man from London came in to chat, as did natoyiininastumiik. The latter was wearing some of my beading, always interesting to see things after I've sent them to their lives. Good conversations were had. The man from London was very well informed, both about art and some obscure Native/Irish history that is generally... well... not known. He also did a thing which reminded me of why this residency has been a bit challenging for me personally. It's something that I forget. I understand why it happens. It does cause some friction sometimes.
People, even when I'm basically sitting under a sign with an arrow pointing at me that says 'Native Artist', look at me and see light skin, listen to me and hear my education and no matter how careful they are they tend to forget that culturally I am not always going to behave as a Euro-American. I'm not complaining, I could not be more used to this. Being around someone who assumes that even though I may look like a thing and perhaps because I don't sound like that thing, my reactions are potentially mysterious, is healing. It's affirming to have my differences given space. It's particularly wonderful at the end of a month of being 'on'. I was given some good advice tonight about accepting praise, 'Say Thank You and zip it.' It's good. It's probably culturally valid in the context that it was offered. I'll probably never take it, but I appreciate the gesture. People from mixed cultures are complicated. We tend to react to things as we were taught, just like anyone else, but it's a six/half dozen of the other situation as to which parent taught the appropriate reaction to begin with. Here's a tip if it matters, if you like my work/my performance, whatever, own your reaction. Tell me YOU liked it, I tend to respond well to that. I say the 'right' thing in that situation. If you call me a genius (it happened today) I will generally bask for a moment and then make a joke. That is who/what I am. Not likely to change at this late date. I'm getting to be an older dog you know?
There were too many folk at the reception for me to remember all of them. There were many many heavy hitting Native artists, for example. It was fun to have these folk at my party. See? I'm learning. It was my party, mine and Michael's in absentia. Part of me now wants to back off of the ownership of the party, to say that it was really a community party or that the committee should be delighted. I want social points for not doing that (grin).
Linda Noel and devorah major read amazing work. I read a few poems too.
Some of the people who came were: my sons Eddie and Morgan without whom..., Mary Jean Robertson again without whom, Reid Gomez who stopped by to be lovely at me (another hug girl), Charlene Sul came with Catherine Herrera and made me VERY happy by being there (even though Catherine WILL insist on pointing cameras). There were many others that my sluggish brain is not furnishing. It was a happy thing to see Celeste and Mamacoatl (who performed with two new friends whose names are utterly gone at the moment... I'm terrible, I apologize, one is even a fellow Okie). Kate Machi dancer and writer came by with her husband. I was well supported by my communities. I have flowers on my dining room table. I'm smiling sleepily. I'm gonna close my eyes now people. Thank you for the party (zipping it).