A Stitch in Time at the Cheyenne River Youth Project Part 1... / by SCAPE Martinez

My journey to the Cheyenne River,... this is part 1, there will be more "stitches" to come...

 

I wondered aloud, "What am I going to do?"...

Speeding for three hours from the Rapid City Airport to the place that I've heard so much about. A new world of experiences, a country within a country if you will... I was nervous... after all, "what was I going to do?"...

I rarely get nervous when I paint outdoors, rarely get nervous when passerby watch. I just do my thing, shake my hands, flick my wrists, be the Maestro to the orchestra that unfolds, but this was decidedly different. I WAS NERVOUS... could it be that I held the situation in such high regard?... that I listened intently to each and every nuanced conversation in order to plan this? That I didn't want to appear ignorant? a buffoon?.. one of "those"?...

"What if I offend with my choice of colors or images or wording?"...

"What if I get run outta town, and clear off the Rez?"...

All the while, I recognize that something bigger was at work, and instead of being nervous, I needed to rest in the knowing that this all was bigger, and I was, or I am, just a piece of all of this... sitting in the passenger side as we rumbled along for about three hours I reflected... I looked to where the sky met the land and how that line stretched for the as far as I could see...

"The air smells different"...

"The sky looks different"...

"I will be different"...

I think that I hid my state of nervousness pretty well, maybe showing a few chinks under the armor here and there... but then the inevitable.. to to rock... time to perform...

"Scape, you ready?" was the question... "sheeeesh, I don't gets ready, I stays ready!" is always the answer... BUT, what was I going to do? I got my crates of paint, I got my caps, I got my supplies, ladder, etc... even got some choice buff paint, but the lingering question... lingered...

I learned something as I approached the wall,... I can outsmart myself, I can get mired in the "to do", when I need to get mired in the "to feel"... I got to feel it out and trust the process... you been doin this far too long to fall off here and now... you traveled thousands of miles to get here, too late to fail and the wind was underneath your wings... you got this.

I figure three days would do the trick,... one day of prep and under painting, another of fills, and finally the finish,... I got stuck on the finish. I wracked my brain, and drove "Julz" crazy with my ideas, I nearly broke Google, overheated my phone, thinking about words and phrases in Lakota... some were OK, some not so much...

Then it hit me,.. it's NOT GOING TO SAY ANYTHING!... after a restful night of sleep,... the choice was made, actually the choice was already made, I just got the message when I was able to clear my mind to receive it... "Don't worry about what it says, worry about what it does"... DONE!...

On that Third Day, I was tired, at first, but when I got that word, I was juiced!... as I sipped my coffee at the Keya Cafe... I felt like I had a few secrets under my cloak, ready for the world to see... it was RED, BLACK, YELLOW, and WHITE.. the four colors that represents the four bands,... I didn't recognize how deep it went... I also didn't recognize that in part this was a moment of "creative confirmation"... I've done similar before, in other work BUT I never felt that it was "OK", that it was enough,.. here I learned that amplifying it, respecting it, showing it, understanding it, THAT was enough...

The circle is a Divine Shape,..."Creation is Continuous." Lakota Proverb... I learned this...

After the third day, this is where I ended up:

 

The finished work!... less about what it "say", and all about what it "does"...

In the end, it was a great flattering touch to be on the front page of the newspaper!

Detail shot of what WAS a boarded up window...

Standing on a ladder, looking over my shoulder, wondering what am I doing on the Rez?...

MANY, MANY thanks to everyone who made this journey possible, as it was equal parts a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual one: Executive Director, Julie Garreau and Tammy Eagle Hunter, Youth Programs Director, and all the staff at the CRYP.

For more information about The Cheyenne River Youth Project, click here: http://www.lakotayouth.org/