Byron Chief-Moon - Actor/DancerWednesday, April 18, 2012
My Mother's Red Shawl - El Rebozo Colorado
Byron Chief-Moon - Actor/Dancer
My name is Byron Chief-Moon; I work in the performance arts industry as actor and dancer. When my friend Alex called to ask if I would pose with his mother’s red shawl, I was intrigued by the storytelling aspect and accepted the invitation. Alex and I have known each other for many years through dance. Alex shared beautiful stories about his mother and on how she wore the shawl on special occasions. And my dancer’s curiosity prevailed and I wanted to feel the cloth on my skin, in my hands and on my body in movement. I maintain openness to energy that would be emanating from it, if any. I grew up in an environment closely connected to landscape which allows me a perspective on synergistic fields and wondered if ideas and thoughts could linger on loved or objects worn or treasured for significance. Also the color of red is important part of my life; red reminds me of the passion of love and the devastating beauty in death and to never forget the pointless bloodsheds.
Blood is also a name associated with my mother’s people. The Blood Tribe of southern Alberta; also known as Kainai, members of the Blackfoot Confederacy, a territory far from the home of my friend Alex and his family who live on the west side of Vancouver.
Upon arriving, Alex shared more stories about the red shawl and his mother. We met his wife, Rosemary, who graciously descended the stairwell pausing briefly on the landing for introductions. We are standing in the foyer which was transformed into the ‘studio.’ It was a lovely first encounter with Rosemary. After the introduction I went in front of the mirror and began to style the shawl onto my body, and more importantly to have the hands exposed. At one time Rosemary passed by as I had the shawl over my head, she paused momentarily, tilted her head and smiled looking at the sight in front of her, and I quickly removed the shawl off my head. After a few moments I then began to move with it again, carefully. The final styling came while I was walking around feeling the fabric against my skin. Finally, Alex asked if I was ready, and if I would sit down on his chair. The first photo was taken with the Polaroid; it was taken with the ‘Fujiroid.’ The Fujiroid was used to check for lighting, styling, position of the shawl and very important; the position of the hands. The pose was approved by both Alex and my partner Shanon, who had been visiting with Alex while I was getting acquainted with the red shawl.
I have a belief that if you take care of beloved objects they will serve you well for as long as you maintain a positive energy around them, or they move onward. I have given away and found homes for most of my ‘precious’ things keeping only what is necessary. However, I find that my blood memory still serves me well. I grew up in an oral culture a ‘living culture’ where we are constantly told the stories of the land and its people every evolving and adapting to the present moment; maintaining the love for one another channeling from the landscape. Where I grew up in southern Alberta, where there is red on the land and red to me is symbolic of whom I am - ‘The red Indian.’ My mother’s people the Blood or Kainai, still use red ochre as part of our face painting ceremonies, hence the name Blood (Red) being associated with my mother’s people.
I enjoy wearing red; it’s a passionate color for me and it’s also a devastating color too. I wear red on Fridays. It’s something I had been doing for years, and it’s my own personal memorial and a reminder of all the needless deaths in the needless wars throughout the world. In wearing my friend’s red shawl I felt emotions that I was not sure if they were mine, I thought at any time I would burst into tears. But I had to maintain from becoming too emotional, what helped was the constant reassuring smile of my partner who was the only other observer in the room along with Alex, who were physically present. Not often do I pose for a photo without directions, as most print work I do has been usually for the ‘industry’ and often they look for a certain attitude (emotion), lighting and style. This was a different session.
I was guided by the red shawl and on the innocence of the project. I lost my mother several years ago, and I feel I’m finally coming into my own self again, but definitely changed.
I wore a red shawl that belonged to a remarkable woman… a mother.
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