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Massy Interviews / annie ross

July 12 – August 11, Massy Arts will host “Love Land / Love Defense: Indigenous Responsibility, Right & Relationship”, a new exhibition by Maya artist, poet and educator annie ross.

This painting exhibition considers certain sacred beings – Land, Water, Earth, and all living beings of our home planet, thinking of love and land defense/defenders, rights and responsibilities.

The Massy Arts Gallery is located at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.
The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm to 5pm.
Entrance is free, and masks are mandatory.

Click here to know more about the show

Click here to register for the opening reception

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To celebrate the upcoming show, Rafael Zen interviews ross for Massy Arts, addressing every living being’s inherent power, modes of existence, and art’s connection to artistic creation.

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annie ross / English needs a word for the Power inherent in all life Forms

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Rafael Zen – The title of your upcoming show is “Love Land / Love Defense: Indigenous Responsibility, Rights & Relationship”. By saying “Responsibility, Rights & Relationship”, how do you think the artworks brought to the gallery will evoke a discussion on these three correlated terms?

annie ross – I think these three – Responsibility, Rights & Relationship – are intertwined, knotted, inter-dependent. To be in relationship with all Life is to be actualizing our Rights – the acts and imaginings to make real, safe, and viable the Rights of other beings to fulfill their responsibilities as well.

Rights/Responsibilities are the Inherent talents, gifts, and potentials in every living Being. These are the elements that create Relationship, health and sustainable Life.

Perhaps a group of Monarch Butterflies are meant to be born together, eat MilkWeed, to gather, fly together, and transcend again into bits who become worms. I don’t know; but their beauty and Power is Sacred, transformative, and a part of the SuperNatural order of things on this Beautiful Planet.

English needs a word for the Power inherent in all life Forms.

What is this defense mentioned in the title referring to? We live in the time of Heroes, those giving all in defense of ancient Forests, Trees and their communities of diverse Beings, Sacred Wild Salmon, Rivers, Mother Earth, communities.

We live in a time where Trees, Sacred Wild Salmon, Rivers, Mother Earth, communities continue to give their all so all others may live. To all Land Defenders, to all Rights Defenders! Live Forever! Your breath is our very Lives.

To all taken from us. !Presente!
We always Remember You and Recall your Names!

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RZ – Why do you say, in the synopsis of your show, that Land, Water, Earth, and all living beings are sacred? What does it mean to be sacred in this perspective?

ar – Every Living Being has inherent Power, personality, needs, wants, teachings, responsibilities that are fulfilled by their very existence, and each has meaning and many values, roles to play in maintaining any and all ecosystems to Live and thrive into eternal present which is tomorrow. We are hopelessly inter-twined, hope-fully inter-dependent.

Humans are completely dependent upon other Lives. It is human Responsibility/Rights to do all possible to ensure the health of Rivers, Wild, Sacred Salmon, Monarch Butterfly; all others, they are all ‘keystone species’; no one exists happily without all others.

What do we mean when we say ‘i love you’?
Kindness is a Spirit Power.
Compassion for all Life.

What does it mean to be Sacred in this perspective? To be a part of an intertwined interdependent whole. To have transferable Power to live, to be, to keep the whole ever-moving, ever-living, regenerating Beauty. To give and be in the eternal Whirling energies. i have never met an imperfect Flower, Bee, or Slug. I have never met any Flower Bee or Slug without meaning, purpose, sanctity.

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RZ – What is the correlation between right and responsibility? How do you, as an artist, propose a dialogue with these terms?

ar – I wonder what we mean when we say, we have Responsibilities; to me they are specific, essential acts we have inherent Rights (duties) to perform, as a part of our social contract with the practical and Spiritual reality; meaning, the Responsibilities to ensure clean Water so all may Live; Responsibilities to maintain the re-Birthing/Creating/Transformative capacity of Mother Earth Herself and Nature Power so all may Live.

Rights/Responsibilities are inherent, enshrined, they are the way Mother Earth is maintained in health and beauty, they are not ‘given’ by humans or corporations. Rights/Responsibilities can not be given away, sold, traded, as they belong to all equally and to no one specifically.

Every living Being has inherent Rights; the Rights to be their Natural (and Spirit/SuperNatural) selves in order to ensure every Life has the opportunity to fullfill their purpose, Being-ness, and their inherent Responsibilities to one another. A Rock is not a rock, but a Being with Power, we may think of the Sweatlodge here. Water is the Original Doctor. Corn is our Ceremonial Sister. Water gives all and is all; Water doesn’t need to change, humans must ensure Water’s safety.

I may say that for Bears, Wolves, Forests, Insects, Deer, Others.

We may say ‘Rights’, to me this means the Right to perform our talents, gifts, works, to maintain the health of every Being, as equal members belonden to others’ health and thriveance on our beloved Planet.

Invading peoples/corporations demand Indigenous Nations and Indigenous Beings conform to capital/neoliberalism/empire, to the point of ruin, poverty, starvation. We are all to obey empire (refuse! resist!). Invaders take the biggest and the best, the last of every Sacred Being.

This is the evil of our times.

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RZ – Also in the synopsis, you say: making is a link to the power of Creation, and life as Ceremony. Can you further explain this vision of creation? Why do you think you use art to express yourself?

ar – Can we imagine, if all we do as humans, were understood as ceremony? What would we do differently? What visions would reveal themselves?

How would the Water we use to wash ourselves be recognized, greeted, each time we came in contact with one another? How long a journey did the water make, from cloud to our home? What would change in each of us, individually, collectively, when if we asked this of all of our Helper Beings?

Every time we ate, what would happen if we thought of all the hands that came together, with rain, sun, and labour, to create our supper? Is not labour ritual? How many eons of rituals of non-humans took place for clean River Drinking Water?

i think the act of making (craft/art/kitchen/relationship, and others) link us to the foundational act of Creation(s), the sacred time of Creation(s), and its Power.

one may think of this as a Spiritual or Secular experience, it doesn’t matter which. in my world, making is a small part of Making; therein is its relationship to a Sacred time, Sacred acts. this is why caring and creating are critical to what we mean when we say ‘Rights’ and “Responsibilities’.

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RZ – If you could choose one artwork from the show that encapsulates what this theme means – what would the work be? Can you describe it for our readers, and tell us why this one? 

ar – hmmmm i don’t know really.

Perhaps the painting with the SuperNatural Being, being its Awesome Self, radiating, looking at you, believing in you, saying, ‘it is all Love, baby. Come get give.’

some people say what we imagine becomes real. certainly it all begins that way.
sometimes i think i should paint a clearcut, to have a way to mourn
to pour out rage, rage, rage

but then i end up painting a lush forest, all the while within meditations, songs, for the return of all Wild, Sacred, Good

Make what we Dream
Knit it all back together

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