Article documenting a dialogue between myself and transdisciplinary artist Ilka Blue Nelson published in Wildlife Australia Magazine, Winter 2012.
Time and Connections: A Dialogue on Ideas of Heritage
by Ilka Blue Nelson
“My ancestors – and yours – could not have survived if they had not realised and honoured their connection to the natural world. And we will not survive if we don’t begin to hear our ancestor’s voices.”
Ingrid Koivukangas – Environmental Artist
Cherise: I’ve been bothered by a persistent notion that perhaps I’m romanticising the idea of storytelling? I instinctively turn to indigenous cultures and think we should model our storytelling practice on theirs. I’ve been inspired by Vandana Shiva’s comment in a film, that there should be “grandmother’s universities” everywhere for people to learn local knowledge. I feel our disconnection from a holistic understanding of life is aggravated by a disconnection from our Elders. It’s like breaking a natural cycle. The unique perspective that elders have is a big picture view gained through experience. This view is crucial in order to see the roots. But I wonder, with all of the unique elements of different cultures perhaps this approach is far too simplistic? Have we merely lost our way when it comes to our relationships with elders or do we just have a different story that I’m not seeing?
Ilka: Slam poet Omar Musa recited a poem on Q&A about the apathy of his generation. His account of narcissistic people was in stark contrast to stories from fellow panellist Afghan Activist Malalai Joya’s about her people suffering mass oppression and killings. I think context is extremely relevant and responsibility is vital in maintaining a healthy balanced society. It’s a disgusting reflection of Modernity when we are not responsible to our Elders or our Environment and keep them out of sight and out of mind – all that wisdom lost. Reviving storytelling is paramount for ecological health, both cultural and biological.
Featured Image Photo Credit | Elder Weaving by Nicholas Llewelyn-Smith