Working with the premise that everyone in the world understands the words and concepts of peace, cooperation and learning, we are featuring work by a number of artists who fully embrace these ideas. Woven shuen paper works by Amy Loewan and serpentine sculpture from cooperatives in Cape Dorset (Baffin Island) and Tengenenge, Zimbabwe.
In the Tengenenge Artist Cooperative in Zimbabwe, East Africa a guiding principle is that younger artists learn from older artists, similar in structure to the Medieval Guild. This has a Canadian equivalency in the work from the Cape Dorset Cooperative from Baffin Island, Eastern Arctic. Interestingly, the beginnings of both cooperatives coincide in their timelines, starting in the latter part of the 1950s and early 1960s through to the present period; artists have worked with indigenous stone in both communities producing works that relate to their cultures and stories.
Cape Dorset serpentine ranges in color from light yellow-green to black. Although a hard stone, in skilled hands the serpentine offers the opportunity to achieve flowing forms, lines bold and delicate, as well as a glistening, elegant finish. Sites for finding the stone are many miles east of Dorset.
For Jutai, making art was an essential act - an attempt at balance in a world off-kilter too much of the time. He was a mystical soul whose work often depicts human figures in the midst of transformation with spirits, animals, and other humans. Issues of power and protection suffuse his work. Jutai spoke eloquently about the power of the spirit world, which he felt was more closely linked to our temporal world than we might imagine. He asserted that the spirits are always with us, like veins under the surface of skin, imparting their power and protection to human beings in times of need.