Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Sometimes Titles are the Hardest Part

 I whipped this up between last night and this evening.  My fauvism is getting bolder, I think. 


You may recall my saying I've lost interest in figure flattery.  Largely this is because it's too difficult to achieve and I can't bring myself to care enough to make all that effort.  I happily wear dresses like this for a day of staying home, but the bracelets will probably come off soon as they get in the way of my activities.  To many of my friends this looks like a fancy outfit for a day of nothing special but since the whole thing is cost very little and even required a patch job, I don't think of these as fancy clothes.  The temperature has dropped a little, though temporarily, so I gravitate to layers again.  Only when it's above 25 degrees do I abandon layers and wear as little as possible.

 Thrift shop layers: flouncy white underskirt, plummy dress, crocheted cardi and shell bracelets

 Some Thoughts: You May Wish to Skip This Part

We don't really own much if anything except perhaps our own bodies.  Even than, owning our body does not give us complete control over it.  Most things we believe that we own are just artificial constructs, created by our culture and sometimes protected by laws because we value that sense of ownership.  In fact, I would even argue that we don't own our culture and in a time when the politically correct thing to do is call out cultural appropriation, that will perhaps not be a very popular opinion.

Culture is just something we create, we borrow from others all the time, influences come to us or we come to them.  We borrow from nature and animals as well as other human beings.  There are certain concepts that all human beings are capable of creating.  If we want to be one with each other, to recognise only one race-the human race-then we have to let go of this idea that we own any particular culture.  Culture is fluid and changing and it is meant to be shared.

That doesn't mean I don't think the young celebrities attending Coachella wearing feathered headdresses don't look a bit silly but isn't that rather obvious?  And if that is cultural appropriation isn't wearing western clothing if you are not descended from that culture, also appropriation?  I think appropriation is the wrong word.  We are past that and in striving to be equal, we have to stop separating ourselves into us and them.  Yes we need to notice and change injustices, inequality, we need to question divisive attitudes.  I am questioning the notion of cultural appropriation because I think it is divisive.

We don't own our culture though we may strongly identify with it.  This concept of ownership is popular right now and the term pops up in other contexts.  We say we will own our behaviour or own our body size, I have even said such things myself.  Popular jargon tends to be contagious. The term is used to mean take responsibility for or take pride in.  In those ways we can own our culture, our cultural symbols and behaviours, but that's it.  Beyond that we need to let go and move towards creating the culture of the human race, with infinite variety, love, acceptance and humility.


  1. That is an interesting point we make. A lot of xenophobia stems from 'what right do these people have to come to 'our' country' which annoys me because half of us are of immigrant origin in some vein of our family tree anyway. X

    1. That's right, Kezzie. It's never so simple as this is mine and you can't have it. xoxo

  2. the dalai lama - or every buddhist - could´t have said this better! we all are only guests here, we "own" nothing. and if we try to own and control - especially our bodies - illness is not far away. mental and physical. i see this all the time around me, even made this experience myself.
    with the cultural appropriation - if i´m full of complexes or/and have not much of a life of cause i get angry if some else steals my look! but if i´m in balance with myself and the world i get even pleasure from seeing someone prancing around.....in a dirndlskirt in my case! now everyone can do the math with balance - no balance + fear + anger = who has the permission to wear a feathered headdress?
    apropo permission! since you gave yourself the permission to paint your own style - shawnas fauvism - your painting get better and better. that pic of natasha is stunning!!!
    need i say that i like your thrifted lagen? not because i would wear them too - just because YOU look so comfy and yourself in it!!! do you look sometimes at the pics of you in a denim pencil skirt and tight tee?? in this pics you seemed to hold the breath, now you look totally relaxed.....
    hugs! xxxx

    1. I'm going on a speaking tour with His Holiness next year. ;-) You make a very good point, that not feeling a sense of ownership is not always easy and sometimes we do feel it. I think it helps to question it though and to remind ourselves there is another way of seeing things.

      Shawna's fauvism does get bolder all the time. I still struggle sometimes with a though entering my head saying no you 'should' paint it like this and I have to talk back to it and say, No. I have to risk nobody liking it in order to do what make me happiest and that is very freeing.

  3. Wow! Wow, wow, wow! I just love it, Shawna! You are immensely talented, and you are growing! Love so many things about this portrait, the colors, the texture, the light, the likeness, but the most important - it's very alive. You surprised me completely! I'm glad I opened my blogroll, such a wonderful treat! Thank you!!! Much, much love to you, and hugses xxxxxxxxxxx

    1. I'm so glad you like it! The photo is just a little bit dark-your top is purple in my painting but almost looks black here. I am definitely getting more confident and letting myself do more, not holding back and happy with the results of that. You are now hanging out in my hallway on the shelf of hot babes. xoxoxo

    2. You captured the spirit! And it is very cool, it's the best thing in art! You are awesome!

  4. I love your painting of Natalia - it is as warm and beautiful as the woman herself. And the soft layers of your outfit are just the same - warm, pretty, and perfect for you.
    Culture has such a huge scope, we can only ever feel an affinity with some parts of it. I think we like to feel an engagement, a sense of involvement with something shared, but what I consider my culture to consist of will be very different from that of people of other ages, from other ethnic backgrounds, with different interests and experiences. Multifaceted, dynamic, ever-shifting, layered - culture is a fascinating shapeshifter of a topic, isn't it? xxx

  5. It is really scare when we start realizing how much we are truly shaped by our enviroment...it can make us feel like we're not made of anything supstantial, but at the same time, realizing we don't really own anything can be really liberating.

    My life has gotten a lot easier when I realized that I don't have control over my body. I shouldn't be made to feel guilty because I have health problems...and almost every month I go trough changes, due to Chron I often lose as much as 10 pounds in one week ...when I feel better, I get it back but obviously it is not good for my health. However, since I'm in no control over it, I choose not to worry about it.

    I do really like this outfit...it has a cute boho vibe. you look lovely!

  6. Thanks, I am quite happy to achieve a boho vibe. I have to be careful not to get too cute. LOL
    It is very freeing to realise we aren't in control of our bodies and yet the idea seems to scare some people. They want to be in control and to believe they can cure all ills with the right food or behaviour. This often just barely disguises a blaming the victim mentality. xoxo


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