Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Katsitsionni Fox’s Skywoman series

By: Michelle Murdock, Curator of Exhibitions
Katsitsionni Fox’s series of paintings based on the story of Skywoman, who plays a central role in the Iroquois Creation Story, are a personal re-telling of the story she has heard her entire life. “As a young girl I remember hearing about the woman who fell from the sky in our Creation Story. The idea that a woman was first here on earth was empowering even on a subconscious level to my young mind,” she said. Fox’s artist statement reveals more:
It has not been until recent years, as I have matured as a mother and now a grandmother, that I have reflected on all that is revealed in the Creation Story. The Sky world, I have been told, is a reflection of the world in which we now live, which is far from perfect. I began to think about Skywoman not as the flowery character of a story but as a courageous and determined woman, mother and grandmother who not only survived but triumphed over every obstacle in her path. She had to leave her family and the world she knew. She was abandoned by the men in her life, her uncle, her husband and then her lover. She was alone and pregnant falling, falling, falling… into darkness and uncertainty. She created a new world for her daughter and cared for her grandsons when their mother passed away. I could relate to many of the issues that she faced, and could feel her fire burning inside me and in all women that I know. She lives on today; her teachings are vital and sometimes heartbreaking. She also resonates with the beauty of life, love, birth, femininity and the power and strength of all women.

Katsitsionni Fox’s paintings are on view in Our Stories Made Visible: Two Mohawk Women Artists. The 7th Contemporary Iroquois Art Biennial featuring Katsitsionni Fox and Shelley Niro through July 5.

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