Friday, March 19, 2010

What's Your Tribe?

How do you recognize members? Does your tribal identity shift or fray? How much is culturally based and how much is values based?

Actually, don't feel obliged to respond to ALL of that...just been thinking about it recently.


Eva said...

Culturally and value based is strongly connected. Because you treasure your own culture. We have millions of Turkish people who don't really integrate because they believe in the superiority of their own culture -- and to a certain extent, I agree with them. --
My tribe is vanishing, there are very few individuals (literary) left. "Deutschbalten" -- the German minority of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- who settled there from the middle ages until 1939, have disappeared because the next generation has integrated and forgot about their offspring. A dialect, a mentality of well-educated (sometimes arrogant) excentricity, a way of cooking, all this is almost gone.
The accent tells me if someone is Baltic. That's the tattoo.

California Girl said...

tribal identify aside, did you have the famous Steichen portrait of Gloria Swanson seen through lace when you did this?

ArtSparker said...

Eva- It's where culture and values aren't identical (though of course they are related) that interests me. I think culture is a given, and values may be, to use a word that's popular here, emergent.

CG- I thought of that portrait after I had finished drawing this.

rosedale's 4head said...

in my culture, colored / negros / blacks / african-american, it's always always about culture...values (yes, i'm going to express it) are still being defined and probably will always be...values vary...

i don't know, but i culture in America has it's own pure, unique values...but that's an opine

i only wish i knew how to recognize the French/Creek Indian/African tribes of my heritage -- any one would suffice...but...this is America...holding true to its melting pot theory. values are always going to be influenced by dominant some scenarios, this is not always a negative.

i like the lengthy need to respond to the thougts/muses, and the breath-taking artwork here. always a treat.

more more more!!

The Scrybe said...

Up here, in Shallow Window, tribes don’t exist, and for the most part I think I’m happy about this. Perhaps it’s the optimist in me speaking, but I dream of a world with no lines or boundaries and, most importantly, a whole lot of sharing. The word tribe is too closely related to the word clique, in my opinion.
If we searched out differences instead of similarities would the world be a better place? I’d like to think so.
How would you answer the question? I like these thoughts :)

ArtSparker said...

Scrybe- There are people who I feel safe in having being understood by. Ideally, I'd like to expnd that group beyond people with common cultural markers. It's interesting to think of ways to do that.

Candace said...

Besides being just an all round fun bloggist, you zip out with something like this that makes me sit back and really think which leads to another thought and another and ....

Hope weather there is good. Spring is definitely here, right on time this year.
Take care!
Candace, Still in Athens.

The Scrybe said...

I feel the same :)

Deb G said...

This is something that I've been thinking a lot about too and you've given me some vocabulary that's very helpful. As much as I think that it is important to hold on to our cultural identities, I'm worried that if we don't create tribes of shared values (respect for the environment, peace, those kinds of things) that life on planet Earth is just going to get more difficult. Guess that means I belong to the "Granola tribe." :)

Needle Woven Studio said...

Interesting questions you posed - it got my mind to ticking about these things - I've enjoyed reading the thoughts of the other readers, too. Recognizing members of one's tribe is sometimes easy, sometimes not, I think. There are external things that draw people to each other - likenesses in mode of dress is an external recognition sometimes. But that itself can be superficial because also, and much more hard to define, there is the heart recognition that becomes clearer when thoughts are shared. Culturally, I am Sicilian, German and as family lore goes, French Gypsy. But the human heart traits supersede these tags and labels, I think. When I was growing up I had darker skin than most everyone in my hometown - I will never forget when I was a young girl and walking down the street and a family of darker-skinned people nodded at me and smiled - I felt in some way to be a part of their tribe by sheer dint of our matching skin color. I've lived in metropolitan areas and recognized a kinship with people by sight alone - (clothes styles, hang-out places, etc ...) - now I live in a remote place with goats and cows and mountains as my neighbors and I know these beings are part of my tribe -

My grandfather told me when I was very young that if I live to be an old woman and count my true friends on one or two hands that I could count myself very fortunate. I am sure he meant that these people, our dear friends, would be our tribal members. (Whether or not we have actual shared history does not a tribal member make. At least, that is how I feel it to be.)

I do know that within this world of the Internet, where artists and thinkers and dreamers meet up through our words and images, there is a portal opened that allows us to be able to recognize kindred ones. And it is such a heart-pleasure.

Your Maori-like drawing is really wonderful and beautiful.Thanks to you for inspiring such thoughts on this lovely Spring eve.

I call to mind this quote:
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

ArtSparker said...

Shayna- Thank you for that wonderfully thoughtful response. It's lovely here too.

Celeste Bergin said...

I like eyeliner--I have liked it since I was 14 or 15. I have worn it so long that I feel I look weird without it. I swear, I'd have it tattooed on if I thought it wouldn't look bizarre (but I stop myself because I have never seen a successful eyeliner tattoo. Well. I was feeling apologetic once about this as I was buying my zillioneth lancome eyeliner. The young girl behind the counter said: "oh, you are just seeking to belong to your's what we do."

Celeste Bergin said...

p.s. I love the drawing you've done--it is intricate --lovely!

Mariana Soffer said...

Interesting question, you left me thinking. I do not think there is a definite separation among tribes, neither that people belong exclusively to just one. I think each person is kind of an overlapping Venn diagrams of tribes.

femminismo said...

The Eyeliner Tribe? I should meet up with them sometime. I myself belong to the chocolate eaters tribe. I am building up a fine coating of the stuff inside my arteries, I'm sure!

Jenny Woolf said...

I like your Maori style drawing. I wouldn't be able to recognise the person underneath it. I would only see the decoration.

In England, people define themselves very much by accent. I can tell quite a lot about someone's background, including sometimes their cultural and political attitudes, by the way they speak English - I am talking about native English speakers here. It's quite subtle and I guess a professional linguist could identify the subtle differences in pronunciation which characterize the different groups, but mostly I listen to the overall sound of the accent without identifying exactly how it differs from "standard English".

I don't know how many other English people consciously notice what others are saying about themselves by their choice of accent; I do feel that the adoption of a certain accent by English people is pretty well unconscious, and that is another thing that makes it so interesting.

I could go on about this but that's enough for one blog post!

yvette said...

Susan....I think that we unfortunately are infected by churchfathers.
I don't say christianity because I don't want to hurt anybody and in the beginning christianity was pure. We are so determined by quilt and forbiddens and promises of good and bad.
Who is really free today to even look for it's own self.

I belong to dread people

lettuce said...

no responses, sorry, brain not yet awake, but i like the photo so much

Harnett-Hargrove said...

Our responses and habits are dictated even in the smallest ways from our cultural and tribe 'upbringing'. Recognizing and breaking through these (if need be) if often one of our biggest challenges in life.
Wonderful image. -J

Reya Mellicker said...

Very cool question, Susan.

I belong to a number of different tribes, some of which overlap, some of which have nothing to do with each other.

I'm a member of the familial tribe in which we share blood/DNA. I'm a Jew, so therefore a member of a very large blood tribe.

Though I would never have guessed it earlier in life, I am a member of the East Coast cultural tribe. I belong here in a way that I never did when I lived on the west coast.

I meet people all the time who I've known in past lifetimes. I consider us tribe sister/brothers, definitely.

As a bodyworker I am a member of the tribe of healers. I am also a shaman, which is very tribal.

I could go on ... but ... enough.

Sometimes I know my tribe because I feel it in my heart, sometimes I deduce my tribal membership by using my mind.

LOVE the image with this post, and thanks for asking!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

quite a deep query

at times i've stated that i belong to the tribe of women and sometimes to a tribe of women of the cloth

but mainly i feel i'm just a member of the big human tribe - can we be a species and a tribe???

Anonymous said...

I think culture, or zeitgeist?, is something that takes on a life and/or presence of its own-somewhat independent of the people that are in it. sure, it starts with people dressing and acting a certain way but from there it sort of balloons out into its own "thing." cultural values, however, I believe come directly from the individuals in it. you can know a culture somewhat independent from the people in it; you could say somebody from this culture does: a, b, c, but not d or e. but you cannot really know a culture's values without actually knowing or studying an individual from that culture and their actions/beliefs. I guess what I am saying is cultural values are more personal than culture.

unfortunately, however, I really do not feel part of any culture. perhaps the artitic community, but even then, I am not sure I fit that very well. just because you are an artist doesn't mean you belong to the Artistic Community. I guess that is true of anything, however. just because you are or do ____ doesn't mean you are part of ____-culture.

anyways, lovely post as usual.
and happy first day of spring!!


Fresca said...

Loved this question and posted a bunch of photos of my answer on my blog.
My tribe is people when they're reading.

Seeing someone read allows me to see our shared humanity, even if I don't like that particular individual.

Of course this is hugely cultural--I come from a literate society and a family that highly valued reading;
but some of it is biological too:
I see we share a physical relationship to the world, as I also do when I see someone sleeping.

ArtSparker said...

Whoah, dudes - I'm thrilled with these responses. Fresca, reading is definitely part of it for me too. Fiction is important, the willingness to "waste time" by releasing oneself into a world that isn't real - also, the willingness to be moved by art in general. This is different in kind from admiring artistic accomplishment - why I don't get excited about a 40 foot long photo realistic painting, or a Hollywood film with lots and lots of CGI.

Cláudia said...

This is something that have always haunted me. My first recollection of thinking about tribes and groups is when I was very young and realized (or imagined) I didn't belong to any group. It was terrifying. I felt so alone, so weird.
I am almost 45 now, and this feeling that I don't belong is still a source of pain for me. Less pain, of course, since we do grow up and understand that things are more complex than the definitive "truths" of our infancy. Today I somehow understand that the prison of the self is not my personal privilege and that even for people like me there is a huge tribe out in the world.

Connection is so delicate and the threads are so fine and yet, they are so important in our lives.

"Si vous ouvrez vraiment les yeaux et regardez, vous apercevrez votre image dans toutes les images.
Et si vous ouvrez vos oreilles et écoutez, vous entendrez votre propre voix dans toutes les voix."

Khalil Gibran

ArtSparker said...

Cláudia- Yo se. Another part of my tribal feeling is for those who feel that opening eyes & ears is active, not passive.

Ginga Squid said...

I also belong to Chocoltae Eaters and also the Tattooed and the Ginga.

That image looks alot like the Ta Moko Maori tattoo.

Tessa said...

African. Unequivocally.

ArtSparker said...

Tessa- Yes, that question was an easy one for you.

Totalfeckineejit said...

I am a Celt and very scared of your drawing, Sparkey.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I feel on the edge of several tribes (poets, crafters, environmentalists) and hope that I'm part of the new movement towards a larger belonging in which everyone works together for the best of the planet and our collective futures.