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The Artists & The Work

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MARILYN FAYE GEORGE – NAHTWEKAKATUSAKE, LAKOTA: HOLY STAR WOMAN

MGeorge  

Statement:
I have only just met Marilyn George, art maker, singer, drummer, woman of deep laughter.  I understand that she has been a painter for many years, but now arthritis slows her hand. Her small painting was presented with both pride and humility and its story is woven into all of the work that you will view here. Her painting was of the eagle shedding one large tear inside which stood a small Anishinaabe family of three. The eagle is crying over the trauma that the family is experiencing from the time of contact: the great disturbance.

A story must be told of our afternoon in the sweat lodge. If you haven’t journeyed there, I will share that it is a deep and meaningful experience.  There is magic in the dark silent moments; from the distance we hear the beat of the drum and singing. It was a song familiar to the women that seemed to become a mystical call and reply. The water song.  Marilyn’s strong and beautiful voice, accompanied with her drumming brought us together as she connected with those within the sacred space and we connected with her and the first day of summer.  Strawberry moon.

It seems that the call and the reply is an appropriate metaphor for this project. People of all faiths respond to the call – how one artist called to the next with colour, form and image to weave a narrative of truth. There is music in the art as well. We can respond to the Call to Action, one drum beat, one heart beat at a time. J. Clark & M. Meiers

Bio: 
The name Holy Star Woman was given to me by a Lakota Elder who is now in the Spirit World. The Lakota Elder described the name: “When you look up at the clear night sky you see all the stars shining … you see the one bright star surrounded by others … that bright star is you.” I am a self-taught designer and craftsperson who was born and raised on the Ojibwa Serpent River First Nation reserve, one of ten children. I reside on Georgian Bay in Penetanguishene (“place of the white rolling sands”).

As a shy three-year-old girl I first tried my hand at sewing my doll a dress when nobody was looking. My creative interest continued, and at the age of eight or nine I learned how to loom beads. A visitor from Wikwemikong came to the reserve and showed an interest in my work and ordered beaded headbands for the Wiki T-Birds Hockey Team. I excelled in art during my school days, receiving praise from teachers and school friends. Inspired by the beauty of art, I attended the White Mountain Academy of the Arts in Elliott Lake, where I learned how to work from a holistic approach, making my own clay, paints, snowshoes and skinned and tanned hides for drums.

Twenty-one years ago I began creating Native porcelain dolls and continue to be inspired by them today, designing regalia from deer hide and utilizing my own beadwork designs. I was a Fancy Dancer in the 1990s and designed my own regalia for the first time. While making the regalia I was asked to be a Head Dancer in Kitchener-Waterloo. This is when I had a dream about a white bird and bought some white material. I found later that my mother dreamed about a white bird that looked like an eagle. I proceeded to create my regalia in the style of an eagle with a wing effect that was well received. In 2000 I began a new regalia and transitioned into a Traditional Dancer. I started a woman’s hand drum group at the Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre and continue to be involved with my culture by volunteering in the community, offering educational workshops and participating in Pow Wows celebrating my Native culture.