Eye Catching Art with a Message

ungewöhnliches Kunsthandwerk mit einer Botschaft

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Please, watch this short documentary about the art work of a friend of mine in the United States: “Eye Catching Art with a Message” documentary.
Dieser Doku Film ist über die Arbeit einer guten Bekannten von mir in den Vereinigten Staaten, die ihre Lebenserfahrung als Pflegefachperson am Rande der Gesellschaft nun ausdrückt in Skulpturen und Bildern. Leider nur auf Englisch.
The award-winning news anchor, Steve Long, from KEVN – Black Hills Fox television, gently introduces Yoko Sugawara and her unusual art work.
Yoko has been painting for many years. She started with Japanese calligraphy and drawing, then expanded her repertoire to include Western art forms and themes from her professional and volunteer nursing work of her first station in the US. Deeply compassionate about social justice, based on her lived experience in Pine Ridge Reservation, her next series of painted works is titled Shadows and Lights.
About ten years ago, Yoko spent much time exploring a new medium to express herself: ceramic art. As with her paintings, her sculptures and installations are deeply influenced by her life experiences, as well as by her compassionate service (i.e. as a nurse with Doctors without Borders, or during the recovery from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown).
I have had the opportunity to model for this under-appreciated artist.
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Yoko says, that she was told many times to produce still life paintings or landscapes in order to make a living from her art work. But she remains committed to her message: “Through the journey of self-reflection, I want to foster the courage to embrace ourselves the way we are. My art mirrors the complexity of the human condition. Empathy that I cultivated as a nurse helps me perceive situations with deeper understanding. New concepts for my creations often emerge through these perceptions and insights.”
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Her work is deeply personal, and yet universal. And still, she accepts no compromise for the sake of achieving commercial success.
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Hope on the horizon – the movie (+de)

Hope on the horizon: The short experimental film Healing in Babalmé has been officially selected for screening at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival 2013.

DCISFFlogo

Healing in Babalmé – A story of hope from a marginalized place tells the story of a humanitarian worker’s lived experiences during a malnutrition crisis in Chad, where a pastoralist community on the edge of the Sahara desert mobilizes its own resources to overcome effects of marginalization. This short experimental documentary is a witness to the power of supportive non-intervention and true community development.

für eine deutsche Übersetzung klicke hier: Hoffnung in Babalmé
I am pleased to announce, that my creative spirits have persisted, thanks to the encouragement of Celia and others, to revise and re-edit the animated audio-visual presentation based on my experiences in Chad. I still feel blessed that I have been able to witness the events that inspired me to write the story. They are still a source of hope for me. The events illustrate for me that there is “that of God in everyone”: People with nothing can make a difference if we don’t crush their individual and collective agency with might and paternalistic intentions.

The 2013 Dawson City International Short Film Festival will be another venue to share the message of hope with a wider audience.

You can enjoy the preview in this YouTube version anytime by clicking the arrow button:

Dedicated to the people of Babalmé and the North Kanem/Chad Continue reading “Hope on the horizon – the movie (+de)”

Walking Home – a short film

“Walking Home – A contemplative journey along the Yukon River” is a short film conceptualized, directed, and produced by Othmar F. Arnold, with feedback and support from Celia McBride; filmed in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada).

Continue reading “Walking Home – a short film”

Valuing democracy – playing by the rules

I was asked to contribute to the ongoing consultation process for the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan. Here are my thoughts:

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Monolith Mountain in the Tombstone Territorial Park. A protected natural space in the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in traditional territory adjacent to the Peel River watershed.

Feedback Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan Consultation

My personal opinion is that the Peel River region has sufficient natural value to be designated as a whole (=100%) a protected area similar to a National Park. However, I see that various stakeholders have an interest in accessing some resources in the Peel River watershed:

For First Nations it is an area for subsistence, primarily fishing, but also hunting, berry picking and the collection of other plant materials for medicinal uses. As the representatives of a colonial power, the Yukon Government also has to realize that the Peel River watershed has spiritual values to the indigenous people of that area, the people that have lived on the land for centuries, that live on the land today, and the ones yet-to-come. This land is part of the people – a concept that is hard to grasp for us Westerners who have developed property rights, buy and sell real estate like a commodity, with no emotional or spiritual attachment, and see us as enlightened beings separate from the natural world.

Continue reading “Valuing democracy – playing by the rules”

A Better Yukon for All – the governmental strategy for social inclusion and poverty reduction

A critical review by Othmar F. Arnold

(All mentioned documents are linked directly to the original source.)

The preamble to the new strategy document outlines very nicely what a better Yukon for all means: “A socially inclusive society is one where all people feel valued, their differences are respected, and their basic needs are met so they can live with dignity. It is a society where everyone has the opportunity to participate and to have their voice heard.’ (p. 8) And it continues with deep insight about social exclusion: it “is the result of barriers in the social, economic, political and cultural systems” (p. 8).

In the introduction, the scope of the strategy is presented as a guideline to social policy development; or in other words, how government will facilitate a way of meaningfully living together. From the research the government conducted, it concluded that service delivery and access to services appear the main reasons for the fact that some people in the Yukon do not feel included. Furthermore, “poverty is one of the most obvious factors contributing to social exclusion, but social exclusion also stems from and is exacerbated by inadequate education, housing, health, social participation, employment and access to services (p. 8)”.

Continue reading “A Better Yukon for All – the governmental strategy for social inclusion and poverty reduction”

A sorry state – the loss of democracy (+de)

A Sorry State (für eine deutsche Teilübersetzung klicke hier: Ein leider Zustand)

Last week, the Available Light Cinema film series in Whitehorse screened the new documentary by local director Mitch Miyagawa with the catchy title “A Sorry State”. Indeed, much of what we read in the news about politics, be it at the level of the territorial government, the federal government, or many national governments around the world, supports the impression that this world is in a sorry state.

But do not fear: I am not going to write a lament about our current political situation. I’ll leave that for other writers in local newspapers that dared to describe our cage-fighting MP a sock puppet of the Prime Minister… (Yukon News)

The sorry state in Miyagawa’s film refers to the various apologies his extended family has received over the last decade from the government of Canada for political wrongs of its colonial history: Continue reading “A sorry state – the loss of democracy (+de)”

The time for giving – global needs you would have never dreamed of

Over the last few days, I came across several writings in the blogosphere about aid. It started with the blog from a Norwegian family that inquired whether providing employment for a person from a marginalized context (read: Third World country) could potentially constitute a form of development aid at the private, most direct level.

Is hosting an au pair the most direct form of developmental aid maybe?
I´m not being cynical. It is a sincere question. (from Au pair host: “Development Aid?“)

In response, I offered some of my own thoughts for finding an answer:

…However, I have some doubts about the notion of development aid. In the first case, the mother and child have migrated from the less affluent to the more affluent context due to marriage. They have uprooted themselves to significantly improve their social and hopefully economic standing – this is what I call upward mobility. There is no development in Kenya associated with that.
In the second case, the young woman has returned with hard earned and saved cash and is able to run a family business. At least that will have a development effect in the country of origin. But the process is a form of migrant labour, or maybe another form of remittance.
I think that if a person from a marginalized country comes and works as au pair in a highly privileged country and is treated like a human being and not simply as cheap labour, it is a noble exchange.
But it does not constitute charity:

Nick Negerli - the ubiquitous guilt-absorbing church collection boxes of a recent past (photo credit: vgntramp.wordpress.com)
(photo credit: vgntramp.wordpress.com)

Continue reading “The time for giving – global needs you would have never dreamed of”

Hope on the horizon – the movie (+de)

Healing in Babalmé – A story of hope from a marginalized place tells the story of a humanitarian worker’s lived experiences during a malnutrition crisis in Chad, where a pastoralist community on the edge of the Sahara desert mobilizes its own resources to overcome effects of marginalization. This short experimental documentary is a witness to the power of supportive non-intervention and true community development.

für eine deutsche Übersetzung klicke hier: Hoffnung in Babalmé
I am pleased to announce, that my creative spirits have persisted, thanks to the encouragement of Celia and others, to revise and re-edit the animated audio-visual presentation based on my experiences in Chad. I still feel blessed that I have been able to witness the events that inspired me to write the story. They are still a source of hope for me. The events illustrate for me that there is “that of God in everyone”: People with nothing can make a difference if we don’t crush their individual and collective agency with might and paternalistic intentions.

I am planning to submit this version to the Dawson City International Short Film Festival 2013.

DCISFFlogo

It will be another venue to share the message of hope with a wider audience.
You can enjoy the preview in this YouTube version anytime by clicking the arrow button:

Dedicated to the people of Babalmé and the North Kanem/Chad Continue reading “Hope on the horizon – the movie (+de)”

Experiments in living – to govern or not to govern

Experiments in living – multicultural lichen colony with a funny face on Boothia Peninsula, Nunavut.

Today, I got drawn into an online conversation. It started with the following blog entry: Experiments in Living and its subsequent exchange of replies that eventually touched on the issue of need and structure of government. From the exchange I got the sense that government seems to be categorically opposite to the notion of liberty, as well as that certain national governments are being viewed as completely separate from and in opposition to the population. For me the latter seems peculiar and indicates a fundamental flaw of existing government structures. I have posted earlier some of my own thoughts about governance under the heading leadership and power – not authoritarian rule and legalized force.

 

Here I will share with you my reply to the above-mentioned online dialogue:

Dear Malcolm,

I am not sure if smaller government is my preferred vision in general.

Continue reading “Experiments in living – to govern or not to govern”

Nursing with indigenous communities: The question of membership

Membership and belonging are important factors for well-being on an individual level. It is a topic that resonates strongly with me for a long time. In 2004/05, I have written an article on community membership and belonging from a nursing perspective with a particular focus on cross-cultural practice in indigenous communities. It was never published, but might be of interest to some.

Nursing practice with Aboriginal communities: An exploration of the question of membership.

Othmar F. Arnold, RN, MN,

Abstract

For most nurses working with Aboriginal people, such a posting is a professional challenge. Nurses do not hold any formal membership in the cultural and ethnically diverse communities they serve. The importance is placed on competent and efficient delivery of needed services for populations that are known for significant health disparities and marginalization. Drawing from Nuu-chah-nulth origin stories, it appears to be important for the realization of Aboriginal health, healing, and well being that health professionals acquire community membership. The difference between the two world views poses an ethical dilemma, possibly constituting a form of cultural imperialism. Nursing science based approaches for bridging the intercultural gap are explored.

Health Centre, Carmacks, Yukon, serving the Village of Carmacks and the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation

Content:

Membership from an Indigenous Perspective

Membership from a Discussion among Community Nurse Practitioners

Membership from a nursing theory perspective

Ethical questions

Recommendations for action at micro, meso, and macro level
Continue reading “Nursing with indigenous communities: The question of membership”

A call for lateral love from down under

Today I learned through a follower of this blog about an important indigenous healing initiative in Australia. It is called Lateral Love Australia and is intended to explore and help overcome the opposite of lateral love: Lateral violence.

Lateral violence happens when people who are both victims of a situation of dominance, in fact turn on each other rather than confront the system that oppresses them both.

I was touched by this initiative. I have witnessed many instances where people in marginalized communities I served in were hurting each other. Instead of pulling together towards healing from various forms of colonial trauma, people engage in acts of lateral violence (gossip, bullying, blaming, alcoholism, drug use, domestic violence, suicide). This only creates more hurt and pain, helps reinforce stereotypes, and perpetuates racism.

Inuit children in Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay practicing lateral love. Family dance Christmas 2008.

Continue reading “A call for lateral love from down under”