Lakota Sioux – Vision Quest
Artist – Laura Seaman
Graphite and Charcoal
In 1979, I began my study of art outside of public school art classes. My mother had discovered an art studio a few miles from our house in Wauconda, IL called The Studio in the Woods, and decided that this would make an excellent extracurricular activity that she could share with both me and my brother on the weekends when we all came together to do family activities after a week of work, school and long commutes kept us apart most hours of the day. The studio taught oil painting, watercolor and charcoal drawing. We started with charcoal, so that we were well grounded in light and dark values, shading and shadow before we moved into color. I had the opportunity to try my hand at all of the media offered at the studio, but I eventually found that drawing was my preferred method of artistic expression. In this drawing, I experimented with different types of lines and shading techniques. My own mind is drawn to the simplicity of the black, white and shades of gray, without the ‘clutter’ of color.
The owner of The Studio in the woods was a subscriber to Southwestern Art magazine and an enthusiastic patron of Native American paintings. I spent many hours looking through the old magazines she let me take home and I saved many photos of works for inspiration. My studies ended when high school ended, but I would continue to draw from time to time. The drawing “Hembleciya” is a compilation of those inspirational photos. The Lakota Sioux word for Vision Quest is “Hembleciya” and it translates ‘crying for a dream’. A young friend of mine of French and Native American decent describes this rite of passage:
“I’ve been on a vision quest before…It’s sort of like deep-entrancing self-meditation where you pray to God and commune with your soul inside your mind.In the old days, they used herbs to do this but nowadays you just build a medicine bundle and do this with deep prayer to God. It’s like an ultra-prayer. The French call this “dream-crying.” It’s amazing.”
During this quest, the person would seek a remote location on a mountain or butte and relinquish all worldly comforts, relying on their spiritual strength. In this way, they would seek guidance from God and vision.
(Thank you, Lord Kansas :0)