– Renate Hugel –
Renate Hugel: “The Blanket-Woman”, Acryl on Carton,
28x41cm, or 39×52, 5 cm (with sides opened out), 2001
This picture, “The Blanket-Woman”, I had worked in the “Heaven” (see: “Heaven”: “Art Touches Art – 31”) and painted with acryl on a carton-lid, inclusive of the four sides of the lid. Therefore, at first my work had been three-dimensional. For the transportation I had solved the adhesion of the sides, though. On the photo above, the four open sides can be recognized.
The spontaneously sedate subject-composition consists of elements, painted associatively, and of color-areas between blue, red and pastel green. Furthermore, on some areas and subjects, gesticulatory scratching can be recognized.
In its statement, “The Blanket-Woman” refers to an experience which had been behind a few days at the time then:
We guests had been invited at taking part in the Kiowa Black Leggings Ceremony taking place every year.
This ceremony is the annual main event, the great Pow Wow, of the Kiowa – tribe. It is causing community and identity with that for all tribe members.
A teepee set up specifically was on a big area, put from the platform on the left side. The color design of the teepee-jacketing corresponds to the tradition: One half of the teepee-cloth is yellow-black with stripes going horizontally. The remaining cloth is of white color, in the upper part up to the top, however, of red color. The wood bars of the teepee are rising beyond the top – as usual. The American flag can be seen blowing in the wind on one of these bars. The entrance of the tent is situated on the side which points towards the small piece of woodland behind this*.
Exactly opposite to this area, there had been set up a big platform for the visitors, the spectators. The rows of seats went along on the lengthways side of the area mentioned above. The further rows of seats behind this were ordered in steps up at the same time so that the visitors from all places could pursue the ceremony.
Talking about the spectators, I mean approximately eight hundred persons. They were mainly American Natives of the Kiowa – except us guests. Other exceptions were the partners who belong to another tribe, but had accompanied their partner, however.
Remark to * (see in the text above): People had partly arrived from far away and had the possibility in the small piece of woodland of staying there. Most of arrived had parked their station wagons or also trailer here. Whoever, in the evening, still wanted to drive home had built up tents or pavilions already in the morning, predominant “eating pavilions”.
For the Course of the Ceremony:
The complete ceremony followed a fixed order of items on the agenda:
- The address: It had begun with the message that there had started a war in Afghanistan. Prayers and serious words had followed since many young American natives had been drafted from their rows.
- According to an old Kiowa-tradition the women of the “victorious warriors*” started with the dance of the women.
The dance of the young warriors* had followed. The fact that many of the young men were missing had been announced worriedly (see item 1).
Remark to *: The term “warrior” had been very requiring habituation for us since we are adjusted rather pacifist. Actually, we had experienced the American natives as very kind and benevolent people for whom it had been natural to take us guests in their rows and to let take part in their traditions. We had therefore experienced them as peaceful people.
Now, this genuine ceremony, however, is the “recurring theme” to the “bloodline” of their ancestors and therefore the passed on terms are most natural for the Kiowa natives.
- The next entrance started with young American natives who had had the task of leading the veterans and accompanying them on the stage. All these men had been obliged to serve in Vietnam. Here on the stage, they executed now the Dance of the Veterans.
Also Sherman Chaddlesone belonged to the group of the veterans (see to this: “Art Touches Art – 11”).
This item on the agenda is – after my feeling – not exclusively an appreciation of their “successes in the war” as it perhaps had been thought in the past. With this ceremony the Afghanistan-veterans feel taken in the circle of the community. There they feel a security helping them to process injuries – suffered from physical and, or also from spiritual injuries…
The Dance of the Veterans had felt drawn on a long time very much; it had been executed by all involved with seriousness and dedication. After the completion of this dance of the veterans, till now uninvolved women from the spectator crowd finally entered the dance-floor to follow dancing. It was important to wrap oneself in a blanket: This was the phase of the “Blanket-Dance”. Margaret Hettrick (see: „Art Touches Art – 6 + 23“), from Texas arrived, in order to be present at the ceremony, had also gone onto the dance-floor and had wrapped herself in a blanket, before. Sometime Sherman Chaddlesone’s sister had come to my husband Heinz and me, wrapped us into a blanket respectively and had led us onto the dance-floor!
Later, we had learned that we were the first Germans to whom this honor of the con-dance had been granted!
Such a magnanimous and friendship-bringing-about gesture we had felt as a great mark of confidence!
After the ceremony of The Dance of the Veterans having been completed, then there had followed: The Defeated Death.
As a whole, the “Dance of the Veterans” follows a particular choreography. Each step has to be carried out exactly. This information should draw our attention on the niceties which had been hidden for us – the “clueless-ones”. Therefore we could not get aware of these minimal movement-changes either of the complete construction.
This, what we had been able to recognize, however, had been how great the physical effort must have been, together with a highly concentration for hours during the ceremony: At the end, Sherman Chaddlesone had dropped down obvious exhaustedly on his seat.
The last item on the agenda of the complete ceremony had been then a naming-ceremony for a small child: People from the environment of the young family had given presents to each other. Many people had gone onto the event-area for this and had put bags down there provided with nameplates. The names of the present-giver and present-receiver had then been read out. During the naming-ceremony banknotes had been put down in front of the young parent couple.
After the event finally had been ended, the crowd dissolved itself: Many natives had started for the way home, but there had also been numerous persons arrived from far, who wanted to stay overnight in their tents, pavilions, trailers or station-wagons in the small piece of woodland. At first one went, however, into the prepared eating pavilions. Also the family Chaddlesone had prepared an eating pavilion and all of us had been guests invited to be at the meal together present! Once again we had been overwhelmed by the great hospitality, warmth and kindness which had been brought to us!!!
The sound of the drum continued to have an effect still energy-giving into us. Nonstop the drummers had drummed during the complete ceremony of the Kiowa Black Leggings to the different items on the agenda of this afternoon and had played an important role with that.
In connection with this, it seems probably difficult to understand that I had painted a flute on the outside on the right in my acryl picture “The Blanket Woman” which shows the color of its surroundings and is situated in a long distance to the “Blanket Woman”.
The whole afternoon I had had this vague feeling as if softly moved air had got into vibration and seemed having radiated sensitive flute tones between the people: A common atmosphere under the people whom something far away inwardly moved, something from a far temporal distance. …
The drums had made audible the energy and rhythm of the actors. The atmosphere of the people on this had spoken differently – had been celebrated by a common inner vibration, however…
This inwardly having been moved, I had heard like an inconspicuously, almost breathed singing or flute-playing from the past: a soft sound had laid in the air, simultaneously like an easily rough breath which seemed to come from a wide distance as uniting memory of the ancestors and the past.…
Everyone had had the chance during the complete ceremony “to sing their very own melody, belonging to all of them”…
The memory of the ancestors is a respectful gesture which finds its expression in carrying out the tradition and is intended as empathy for the destiny of the ancestors.
We had saved in our memory the undisguised warmth towards us. Simultaneously the intensive dedication of all involved (the watching like also the active persons) to the traditions of their own ancestors had impressed me! Particularly I recognized this in the respect for their ancestors and in the seriousness at all their actions…
Some years ago, I had found a photo which I had taken during the “Black Leggings Ceremony” in 2001. This had seemed suitable to me as an example of what I had explained above. It also had inspired me to the work of art “Mother and Daughter Following the Ceremony“ – Or: “Keeping Creates a Strong Ribbon” (2012).
Renate Hugel: „Mother and Daughter Following the Ceremony“
Or: „Keeping Creates a Strong Ribbon“
Mixed Technology, Flake Off Technology (29,5×41,5 cm), 2012
I had this picture worked with black, as also different-colored Indian ink and opaque white. After having taken an outline to the paper, I had to put at first bright, waterproof-colors and further have had to decide which areas have to be saved: Because, my procedure followed now the so-called “Flake-Off-Technology”. In the dried condition all areas I had wanted to be saved I had covered then with opaque white. After the white color had got dried the complete picture I had covered then with black Indian ink. After this had dried as well, the picture had to be washed with water. The areas not having been covered with opaque white had changed their color by the black ink now (on my picture partly mixed with reddish brown). This one – in this phase – wet opaque white under the black Indian ink had got bursted in contact with wetness of the black Indian ink. These broken colors can now be washed off and will release the colors beyond. In this moment when I had wanted to stop the washing I can save opaque white traces – in case that I want to save this state…
The Flake-Off-Technology I had chosen because, during the process of this technique, hidden things can be transported again to the daylight… – And therefore this technology can be taken as “a symbol for bringing out the past and with that for bringing out the heavy losses” – …
Within the inner attitude of the persons of my picture I see my intention to let get visible the passing-on-strength, on to the children in this: The mother is deepened in concentration and obviously “arrived inwardly” – in expectation of the ceremony. The girl orientates herself at the behavior of the mother, as also at her feelings and her inner attitude…
So the chain of the ceremony-repetitions continues to get a new chain-link with each year at the time.…
My description above of the process of “going back to the roots”, – not only intellectually but also by a physical use – with this I show what creates, corresponding to the inner attitude, an inwardly strength giving a certain size in the here and present to the person!!!!!
Interpretation: Renate Hugel
Renate Hugel-Selfy, 2017
Remark 1: Current stand: To Renate Hugel I have written the contributions “Art Touches Art – 9, 17, 22 and 41” under “Art Touches Art”.
In addition, there is a mention under “Art Touches Art – 16” (the contribution to the teamwork “block-pictures”).
Remark 2: Information about the complete previous contents of the category „Art Touches Art“ you will find by selecting „Art Touches Art“ on HOME on the outside of the right.