Explore Indigenous Art – Rande CookJune 21, 2021
My name is Rande Cook. I’m an Indigenous artist from the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Much of my art reflects on my culture, where forms and elements connect with the land and story. Today, my focus is to connect ecology in form, so I can share Indigenous values in a contemporary theme.
As an Indigenous person and artist, nature has been a part of our stories from our very beginnings. But not just a story – a way of life. We have recognised the energy in nature for thousands of years: it has given life to ceremony and ritual. We sing and dance to this energy. So having nature be a part of my narrative is imperative to honouring my culture, and sharing in new ways. Protection for the planet is for all humans to share in.
Culturally, we have a reset button that was established by our great myth people. It is said that at any time in one’s life when they are feeling out of balance, they can turn to nature for guidance. Traditionally, one would enter the forest to fast for four days. While fasting, one would bathe as the sun rises in the mornings and give thanks to the creator for life. While resting, one would meditate and tap into the energy of the forest and would reach higher consciousness. It is believed that nature has all the healing abilities we search for. When we let go of all the expectations placed upon us by society, nature is there to take it all away. Nature reminds us that our health is more important than illness, therefore we need to protect nature also.
Most of my time right now is spent on the land researching old growth cedar, and thinking of new ways to tell stories about trees and their importance in climate change. I am also opening my own gallery, Leaf Modern Gallery, which will be in Victoria. This will provide me with the space I need to carry on telling my own stories and the importance of the environment.