Animal Images: Inspiration from Nature, Part One

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From adorable kittens and puppies to majestic lions and wolves, we love pictures of animals. What need do they fulfill?

Public Domain Image via Pixabay Public Domain Image via Pixabay

When I am attracted to the image of animal, be it a painting, a sculpture, a photo or any other representation, it is usually because I’m identifying with the creature’s attributes or abilities. That kitten is so cute, mischievous and lazy; that bird soars through the air, feathers agleam with beauty in the sun. Much of the time the quality or talent I’m attracted to is either something I prize and wish I possessed in greater quantity or something I identify with much to my chagrin. Yes, I’m probably anthropomorphizing more than is logical. Am I alone? I expect not.

My cat, Yuri My cat, Yuri

Native American and other indigenous peoples live in much closer proximity to wild animals than most city dwellers, although we have our companion pets. These pets are all the more precious to…

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Quote for Today: M.E. Thomas

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© Subharnab Majumdar with CCLicense© Subharnab Majumdar with CCLicense

When you grow up as a girl, it is like there are faint chalk lines traced approximately three inches around your entire body at all times, drawn by society and often religion and family and particularly other women, who somehow feel invested in how you behave, as if your actions reflect directly on all womanhood.

M.E. ThomasConfessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight

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Lovingly Carried: The Enchantment of Božo Vrećo’s Lejlija

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Our world seems increasingly fractured by mistrust and hate. Can music, especially that of the human voice, heal those fractures?

Sevdalinka or Sevdah music is a genre of folk music that flourishes in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. These elaborate and virtuosic songs are set in moderate or slow tempos and speak of love, loss and longing. Traditionally, these melodies have been unaccompanied by instruments, giving the singer complete control over rhythm and tempo and creating the potential for intensely emotional and spontaneous performances. Sevdah is related to Portuguese fado in subject matter and in origin, stemming from a synthesis of Asian, Greek and Sephardic sources.

Image © Petra Cvelbar used in accordance with CCLicense Image © Petra Cvelbar used in accordance with Fair Use Policy

Božo Vrećo, lead singer for the band Halka, is a popular singer of Sevdalinka. He combines traditional elements with an extremely modern sense of identity and…

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A Woman with a Persistent Question: Maria Sibylla Merian and Insect Metamorphosis

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from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium by Maria Sibylla Merian from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium by Maria Sibylla Merian

The questions asked in youth can lead us on journeys that last a lifetime. Sometimes persistence is rewarded with answers.

In the late 17th century there was a common belief that insects were beasts of the devil, spontaneously generated from mud. Few scholars understood the life cycle of the butterfly and insects were certainly not proper subject matter for study, especially for a young lady. Fortunately, curiosity is a powerful thing.

Maria Sibylla Merian Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian was a scientist, botanical artist, engraver and illustrator, famous for her contributions to entomology, the study of insects. Born in 1647 in Frankfurt, her father was the influential Swiss engraver and publisher Matthäus Merian the Elder, who, unfortunately, died before Maria reached the age of four. Her mother later married the painter Jacob Marrel, who taught his stepdaughter how to draw and paint and encouraged her passion…

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Deciphering the Dream: Robert Altman’s 3 Women

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Dreams allow symbols, objects and personalities to form fluid associations. Can their suspension of reality help us understand our lives?

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Robert Altman was having a terrible day. He had argued with Warner Brothers executives over decisions about his next film project and things had been said that couldn’t be unsaid. Much worse, his wife had to be taken to the emergency room and admitted to the hospital. Doctors were unsure she would survive. In a few minutes of fitful sleep, Altman had a dream.

He was directing Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall in a film about identity theft set in the California desert. Upon waking, he jotted down a few notes and went back to sleep, eager for more details. Altman was convinced that his vision was important and wasted no time in getting approval for this new idea, as vivid as it was disjointed, from 20th Century Fox. He…

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Redefining Womanhood: Triste, Louca ou Má by Francisco, el Hombre

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Bombarded with cultural traditions and unrealistic fantasies, we often forget that a woman is a person and it is her right to define her life in her own terms. When she is allowed to do so, the power, truth and beauty of her uniqueness far surpasses anything culture or advertising has shown us. Men experience cultural objectification to some degree, as well, but are more likely to be rewarded for breaking the mold, while women are most often castigated.

The following is a luscious music video by the Brazilian band Francisco, el Hombre (Francis the Man) from their 2016 album Soltasbruxa (LettheWitchesOut). The video was directed by Rafa Camâra and filmed in an early 20th Century mansion in Havana, Cuba. It features the sultry voice of Juliana Strassacapa backed by guest vocalists Salma Jô, Helena Macedo, Larissa Baq and Renata Éssis, as well as the…

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The Hidden Feminine: Examining the Female Image in Yemeni Art

A beautiful post from our short series on Yemen in 2017 that digs into the identity of Muslim women and the culture they inhabit.

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Muslim women are frequently shortchanged by stereotypes. How do artists help to change minds and destroy prejudice?

I have selected the work of two female photographers, Boushra Almutawakel and Yumna Al-Arashi, and two male painters, Hakim Alakel and Mazher Nizar, to show us the face of Muslim women. All of these artists are of Yemeni blood and wrap up synkroniciti’s series on Yemen.

Recently I posted about the difficulty of being female in Yemen today and how current attitudes toward women do not square with the history of the nation, a place ruled in the past by Muslim Queens. You can read that post by clicking here. This post explores how those ultra conservative attitudes make their mark on the Yemeni soul and how they impact the way Yemeni artists, male and female, seek to portray the female form.

No exploration of the feminine in Yemen is complete without…

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