This book and exhibition project began with meeting Tiokasin Ghosthorse [a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation] in New York City. After listening to the story of his life, I went to South Dakota where he was born. The images in Butterfly Against the Wind are based on the butterflies I saw there, which reflected the challenging, but beautiful life of the Native Peoples.
“In Indian Country when the sun sets, butterflies fly fearlessly into the wind. The pressure against these fragile beings prevents them from moving forward until they seem to decide to let the wind take them, surrendering to the force; the chaos; the unknowing. This brings them finally towards their destination. The artwork included in this book is from my visits to this land of the Lakota, with its many contradictions, where I remembered a time, one that is still possible, where everything was alive in a sacred way. From a mixture of grief and inspiration the art was created.”
The process of making the artwork incorporates photography (the time bound documentation of reality), with the timeless feeling quality of marks and paint in various layers of revealing and concealing the initial image. The intention of this process is to create an understanding that what we see, and the unseen, are always present in varying degrees of visibility.
This artwork fit perfectly with Tiokasin’s writing as the Lakota cosmology expressed through his words includes the many dimensions of reality, always connecting with the earth. I wanted the images to reflect a story beyond the story, to where there is no beginning or end, just circles within circles. Like cave walls stamped with the story of the heart, I transform the photographs into a land of whispered secrets. Marking a place of visions, dreams, and memories. The reality behind the reality.
Thank you for the opportunity to share this book. You can reach me on my foliolink website @ JadinaLilien.com and at the other addresses below for the other projects I’m involved with.