| Geordie Groenhuysen | Novembre 2019 |
As a child, I was content with simple answers or gentle explanations to serious questions. Aged 4, when I asked my mother “where do babies come from?” She responded “From a very special place.” And I was content with that.
When I look back it seems I’ve always been content with simple answers or gentle explanations. Now, as an adult, I purposely try to simplify everything in my life and I find politics and religion uncomforting and extremely unsettling. Protection is a word that comes to mind. Ignorance is bliss ‘they’ say.
Although I find modesty extremely attractive at the best of times it seems we must have this attitude now where we’re meant to be humble, quiet and modest but truth now-a-days arrives veiled, fake or tainted from the devices we use, disconnected from the beauty of nature and the planet. Most people seem to hold interest in the superficial rather than in depth and beauty these days.
I’m the type of person who avoids the tabloids, newspapers and the news on television because it simply depresses me. I’d rather focus my time on beauty. And I find beauty in everything, even death. That’s what I do. I’m a good editor. When I was young, instead of going hunting and fishing with my father I was trusted to wander off in the forest on my own where I would collect flowers and things that caught my attention. Things that were of real interest to me. ‘Trust’ and ‘collect’ are the key words here. Others may describe me as ‘too honest for my own good’ and a hoarder of sorts, but it was my father who believed in me then and who is responsible for the artist I am today.
The trust he bestowed in me allowed me to be myself whilst being surrounded by the wilderness of nature in British Columbia, Canada. This is what ignited my huge imagination. Nature, and the culture of my mother’s First Nation Coastal Salish and Irish background were key to my beginnings and responsible for the strong belief system I have now as an adult. Coming from two pioneering families like that, my father being half-English and half-Dutch is bound to have had an impression on a young imaginative mind like mine. I consider myself very fortunate to have had this universal guidance bestowed on and in me.
From the age of four. I spent equal time in the Okanogan and the Interior of British Columbia. I had the freedom and trust to explore the outdoors and surrounding areas by myself. Wandering off on my own visiting neighbors and collecting visual images and physical objects all to my hearts content. This brought true freedom to my life at an early age. That has never left me. It’s the beauty I see and find that is of most importance in my work. It is my focus.
And what is beauty? What is real beauty? I think it’s ‘in the eye of the beholder’ of course, yet I also think true beauty stands with the majesty of nature. Nature is not for us but rather part of us. Truth really is beauty. The famous quote of John Keats reads ‘Beauty is truth, truth is beauty – that is all ye need to know.’ And I have found peace in that search.
Black Elk (1863-1950) ~ Oglala Sioux holy man, said “Have you ever noticed everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round . . . the sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its great power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours . . . even the seasons, from a great circle in their changing, always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. “
Today, people are forgetting their past and history as humans. Races are trying to be erased and certain races are trying to erase them. People need man-kind. People need certain continuity. People need to belong. That’s where safety can be found.
I am an installation artist at heart. I observe, story-tell, arrange and edit what I collect and produce. I am borderline O.C.D. But it’s the arranging of things, the placement of things, the colour of things, the space around things, the balance of something, the editing of things and the use of circles that at the end of the day makes me feel safe and secure.
My work is completely visual, and it needs to keep being told. I use the process of elimination constantly; I edit my wardrobe, my home, my studio, my work and what I choose to have in my life, and yet there’s a part of me that doesn’t like change.
My focus is on balance and creating beautiful things. Collecting is at the core. Even with my installation artwork I create small works, physical stories that, when put together, fit together under one roof – so to speak – yet stand powerfully on their own.
I am a forward thinking person and what I know of indigenous teaching is to search for yourself, by yourself because it is your path and yours alone. Others are welcome to walk it with me but no one can walk it for me. I’ve learned that I must actually speak, and the universe will listen, and that children are the seeds of our future. My father planted love in my heart and watered it with wisdom and life’s lessons and he gave me space to grow. Practice optimism. The women in my family taught me to be truthful at all times and that honesty is the test of one’s will within this universe. Treating guests with consideration is a must and to be honored. I wasn’t allowed to take what wasn’t mine whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture, because it is never right. I was taught to respect all things that are placed upon the earth, be it people or plants or other people’s thoughts, wishes and words. Respecting the personal and private space of others is very important, also the personal property of others, especially sacred and religious objects. This was forbidden.
We look at the earth as our life support but it’s not there to support us at all. We look at it as beautiful, but it is violent and intense and angry. Mother nature is a serial killer and she waits for no one and no one is better. It’s okay to die.
There is a new generation of young people coming up that are confident and want to say they’re confident; they want to express themselves and say that what they’re doing is brilliant. I don’t have a problem with that and I don’t know why other people do. If you think you’re a wonderful human being, declare yourself. We are needed, and I say ‘we’ because I am one of the wonderful.