This was the 4th hanging I did (originally for Andy and Fiona until that whole couch fiasco – see 2 Tigers for details). Fiona challenged me to show more of my own essence through this one.
Top Row, Left to right:
The bear claw print is used by native cultures as an omen of good luck.
The second square has to do with an otherworldly encounter I had feeding sparrows with a stranger in Paris in November 2000. I was traveling with one of the best companions that ever accompanied me on a trip, Timothy Findley’s book Pilgrim. Art completely imitated life as happenings in the story began to be the happenings around me. Sentences like, “We are not free to choose what attracts our attention. It chooses us. This way, I have been chosen by you” and “Divide the human population in two, Pilgrim would write of another encounter, and there you have them, the millions who never connect” jumped right out of the page and shadowed me wherever I went. Amazingly enough, I got to meet Timothy Findley a few months before he died. I brought my raggedy country swept copy of Pilgrim hoping he would sign it for me. I told him of my encounter and how it mimicked what happened in the book. He was thrilled and told me the story of how that particular passage came to be (as he wrote most of Pilgrim at his estate in France), and signed my book, “For Marjorie, with mutual memories of the Sparrows of Paris! Be well.” Indeed, “For the sake of having a memento of our encounter.” Touché Mr. Findley, how I miss your voice! The picture is really an embodiment of the stranger (Annie Dillard writes, “As a stranger is the friend of another stranger on account of their strangeness on earth.”) Touché again!
2 Fish – Ying and Yang – just a different take on the Yin and Yang thing. 2 fish also symbolizes a harmonious marriage, so threw that in there for good measure.
Philosophers Stone – first time I used this image. It is a fusing of an ancient petroglyph and the actual alchemist symbol for The Philosophers Stone (see Vienna for a more detailed description). This is in homage to a special person in my life, who has been not only a teacher and friend, but an overwhelming inspiration to me over the years, and the person I thank most on this earth for helping keep my sanity. He is also the person who came up with the name “Mentor’s Waiting Room” back in an email to me in 1999. It is for David, who is by far my most favourite living soul on the planet! I have used this symbol often in my paintings – every time in reverence to his divine friendship.
Centre: Moon (blah blah blah), Sun (blah blah blah), and a dude standing on the edge of the world looking out at whatever you believe moves the universe (not so blah blah blah).
Bottom Row, Left to Right:
Warrior: Taken from a font I’d seen, for the fighter in us all.
Protector: I’ve used this several times, though have spun it around in a semi-circle in the paintings that followed. It was taken from a symbol that tribes in Papua New Guinea sometimes carve into trees to protect a village. I use this as a symbol of protection for my friends.
A Different Drum – yep, taken again from one of my favourite Peter Gabriel songs. For all of us who beat to a slightly different drum.
Thunderbird – again, a highly respected native totem.
Self (42″ x 55″)
August 2002 / Calgary, Alberta