Nature’s Spirit Speaks Through Art – June 2021 Theme Call

This Quarter’s Community Call featured two incredible Nature Artists, each tapping into World Gaia wisdom to share messages through their paintings. Introducing Luis Tamani and Jon Ching.

You can watch the video of the call on Bloom Vision, our Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/_wkN0tcCPec Or read on for a summary.

Luis Tamani

https://www.luis-tamani.com/

Luis Tamani is a globally recognized visionary artist from the Amazon rainforest of Peru. Luis spent his childhood rising at dawn and helping his father carve dugout canoes by the riverside. Luis is the transmitter of visions, sharing messages of communion with the earth. He believes there is unlimited teaching that nature can offer us and that every human has a potential to develop a deeper relationship with these worlds.

Through a Spanish interpreter, Luis shared what he is learning through his art practice, and what he would like us to learn from his paintings.

“Life is short, but we still have the capacity to learn from nature in our lifetimes”.

The first painting Luis shared was the one that kicked off his understanding of the depth of the work his hands were creating.

“This painting opened my eyes to an ability to understand not just art as an artist, but be able to receive information from nature that is divine from God. We can all receive that information and understand it”.

elder female Shipibo healer with jaguars, moon, jungle and snakes
Guardianes by Luis Tamani

About a week after he completed this painting Luis went back to it, and noticed there was something different there. He said he had a super strange feeling like he was not really the one who painted it… like there were other artists involved.

“There was a vibration, a very distinct vibration that I felt about this painting. I discovered new things from this painting.”

It was also the first painting he took to a Transformational Festival – Boom in Portugal. This painting opened a lot of doors or portals, so it became a professional gateway of sorts, leading him to Burning Man and travelling internationally with his work and workshops.

Luis’ paintings usually begin with a lot of ideas that need to be filtered down. His ideas come sometimes from dreams and sometimes from plant ceremonies. Nature has a lot of organic aspects that Luis feels speaking through him in texture, colors – like eye colors, certain animals… He added that he feels one of the characteristics of his art is that it translates what nature is saying to us.

Shipibo healer with plants, geometry, and a snake
“Cuando las Plantas” Cantan by Luis Tamani

When posed the question “What does art know that science can’t?” Luis said that science and art have commonalities because both are practices that you undertake in your life. However, art has a more spiritual aspect. Art is more real, whereas science is searching for something concrete. Science seeks to help you understand with logic. A painting can touch you directly without the need of an explanation. The message gets into you, and it is immediate and ephemeral.

Luis says his message or voice as an artist is not necessarily promoting to take ayahuasca or to remove a sacred plant from the jungle where it lives. Instead, he wants to remind us that in every location where we live, every plant, every bug, every animal, has a song or an intelligence to share. His overall message is one of cherishing and protecting nature, and Luis invites everyone to hear secret call to protect nature and to become guardians of our natural world.

painting of an elder healer with eagle, tobacco, snakes, ayahuasca and other jungle animals
“Fluer de Tobacco” II by Luis Tamani

About “Fluer de Tobacco II”: The radiant flower is representative of the powerful medicine of tobacco, and the character is connecting to that medicine. The flower is transmitting sacred geometry and all the songs and histories and stories that it knows. You feel this knowledge when you smoke it.

painting with a man receiving a blessing from a bird, with horses, heaven, ayahuasca, and a boy
“Lost to Heaven” by Luis Tamani

About “Lost to Heaven”: A self-portrait about a day of Ceremony with friends. A blue bird from the rain forest called tsutsui came to Luis while he had been observing the moon. The song of the bird was brought inside him. It is an ancient song and it made something inside him younger, bringing him back to his youth and it changed something inside him. The horses are very forceful animals and in this painting, you are connecting with heaven and horses are sort of carriers. They are helping this beautiful vibration from heaven to arrive.

Jon Ching

http://jonchingart.com/

Jon Ching from Oahu, Hawaii, brings to the world a fusion of flora and fauna, and his unique style that he has dubbed “flauna”. Using oil paint as his medium, he creates hybrids that show the overlaps and mimicry between species, serving as a visual reminder of the interconnectedness of life forms on Earth.


The paintings that made Jon realize his work was not just for his own entertainment or practice, were painted around 2011 when he was living San Francisco. This was the time when lot of gentrification and change was transforming the city, moving from a free spirited, artistic community and being replaced by more tech centric work.

“These are the two pieces that started me on the path that I’m currently on, using animals and plants as a way to convey ideas that I have about society and our relationship with nature, which obviously dips into climate change and mass extinction and all of those that we’re trying to fight together.”

mother hawk feeding baby wolves in her nest built by fish. the second image is a crane being strangled by beautiful vines.
“Modern Convenience” and “Fresh Coat” by Jon Ching

Jon described the first piece, “Modern Convenience”, as conveying the idea of the tech kids coming into the city and having everything delivered via an app – their house is being built for them by fishes, even though it is a nest. In the second painting, “Fresh Coat”, the vines are feeding it, but also slowly, kind of strangling it and taking over. Jon says “On a real building or a tree, the vine looks really pretty, but the vines are actually suffocating the host. This painting conveys the idea that we are covering up something that is already beautiful with a monoculture.”

melting polar bear floating above the sea, and a lemur sitting on bleached coral
“Melting Point” and “Insatiable” by Jon Ching

Talking about the shift his work has taken, Jon says his work changed from wanting to paint the problem, shaming or forcing people to look at the destruction we are causing, to finding a way to help people remember that nature is beautiful. He wants to spark the love of nature and the natural world in others. This led him to finding connections in nature, the colors, shapes and patterns that mimic each other across nature, in the hope that others will have that connective understanding sparked in them also.

Jon is trying, in his newer works, to show the divine essence of nature.

“I’m trying to represent God, the idea of God, the divine, the spiritual through my ‘flauna’ creatures as a physical manifestation of God. So many Indigenous cultures saw and see God in nature. And if the rest of us can see God in nature as well, we have no choice but to protect it. If we can see that it is God, then we inherently have a love for it and an obligation to preserve it, protect it and worship it.”

Jon was also posed the question, “What does art know that science can’t? What are you accessing through art that we can access through science?”

“Like Luis was saying, I think art is a language and science is a way of understanding. I think they complement each other. I find science intriguing and inspiring. And oftentimes, I’m trying to convey ideas that science has shown us. I think that Indigenous cultures have figured those things out too. Science just likes to take credit for it because they found a way to measure it.

I think art can be a bridge, from what science has measured and discovered, translating that knowledge into an emotion or feeling.

This series of paintings has the theme of exploring what the natural world looks like, post-Anthropocene (the current ecological time that we are in). Humans have transformed the face of the planet and are now gone. This opens the door for a big boom of evolution where different species will adapt to the new world. To the left is Jon’s “Little Oracle”, the owl and the butterfly combining to give an ability to foresee this future. Watch this YouTube video where Jon talks more about this series.

When asked “Are there any daily practices that you do to bring messages through or anything you’d like to recommend people to hear nature more?” Jon said,

“Taking the time to look at things. As a painter, I spend hours and hours and hours looking at the little, tiny details, of coral, or of birds’ feathers, and that has given me so much appreciation for their form, and how perfect it is… Slow down and get your eyeballs up close to something like moss and see how complex it is… Modern life is very busy with a lot of distractions. So I think it requires more intention than it used to. But that’s the challenge. It is our attention which is being challenged.”

Inspiring love, hope and admiration for the unique beauty of our world is Jon’s ultimate goal. And he works to bring awareness to mass extinction and climate change.

“Ultimately, everything on this planet is connected, we’re all carbon based life forms, we all came from a single cell, you know, and so there’s, of course, this deep physical connection that we all share with every other living organism”

red and white striped guppy with red and white striped flowers, and to the right, a hummingbird sipping nectar from a flower that is also the tail of a guppy, in matching colors of purple, pink, and peach.
“Razzle Dazzle” and “Liminal” by Jon Ching
Merry Christmush Art Exchange

Merry Christmush Art Exchange

This Christmas we are initiating an art exchange, on the theme of Mushrooms! Merry Christmush to everyone! The idea is for people around the world to make mushroom art, and send them to other Bloomers as Christmas presents. In a way we are activating our own mycelial networks by creating a worldwide mushroom art exchange. To add your name to the art exchange, email your postal address and your name (if you want to), to community@bloomnetwork.org (we figure this is better than setting up a google form). Make your art, and we will send you others’ addresses to send the art to.

On December 21st we’ll host an interactive video call to share our appreciation, wonder, and nerding about these magical lifeforms. Register for that here.

THE ORGINS OF MERRY CHRISTMUSH 

Merry Christmush was an art project initiated by Australian Bloom newcomer Lumi Ricardi (they/them) after learning about the influences of Christmas from a Scandinavian perspective. 

“I found the story of the Sami noaidi (shamans) and what they did over the winter solstice period fascinating. They dressed in red and white like the Amanita muscaria mushrooms found in that area, and went to visit the World Tree, a large old pine tree. There they would eat mushrooms and gain wisdom to take back as gifts to their people, as well as blessings and gifts for the coming year.”

I created Merry Christmush to help people connect people to what Christmas time is about, and where the origins of our traditions have come from.”

Last year Lumi made 30 mushrooms from sun-dried clay and painted them all different colours of the rainbow. These were then given out to both friends and strangers, and conversations initiated about Christmas and people’s thoughts about this time of year.

Two of the Christmushes made by Lumi last year.

“A fun part of the story is that reindeers would ingest the mushrooms as well. This would give them a lot of energy and they would leap and jump about the forest, giving the illusion that they were flying. People were quite amused to hear the stories from Scandinavia and most people didn’t have any idea of where the origins of Christmas come from.

I think it’s a beautiful thing to encourage people to contemplate where we are now and where we have come from. It’s important to think about how meanings and symbolism changes through the ages, and pieces of the original symbols still remain, like the reindeer, the tree and the red and white colors of Christmas.”

Finally, Lumi invites everyone to enjoy the opportunity to be creative with Merry Christmush, and encourages people to hand make their christmushes. This way each one can be unique, made with care from their own hands and created with the intention of gifting it to someone else.  

“A great part about Merry Christmush is that you are creating the christmushes yourself. This ties into the idea of the World Tree and the gifts that the shaman brings back to his community, and to reflect and enjoy the gifts we give and receive from others. It’s important to acknowledge the interconnectivity of our communities. It’s the mushroom thing to do.”

Bloom Network has strong links with mushrooms via Mushroom City Arts Festival, an annual festival about mushrooms in Baltimore, which has been running for 8 years. This year, Robin Gunkel lead of Bloom Baltimore, convened the arts festival online, which featured a number of mushroom inspired artists. If you want inspiration for your mushroom art head to check out the following artists.

Arty books and zines about mushrooms

Join us in this fun art exchange to people around the world! 

HOW TO BE PART OF MERRY CHRISTMUSH

  1. Email community@bloomnetwork.org your postal address and your name if you want that shared.
  2. Make some christmush art (we are hoping 3-4 exchanges per person).
  3. Send your christmush art to the people whose addresses you are sent.
Mushroom City Art Festival Oct 1-4 2020

Mushroom City Art Festival Oct 1-4 2020

This year’s Mushroom City Art Festival hosted in connection with Bloom Baltimore is online!! That means you can attend from wherever you live. Head to their website to register and see the schedule. October 1-4, beaming to you from Baltimore on the East Coast of the U.S.

At Mushroom City Art Festival, you can experience mushroom foraging, nature art trail walks, lectures, live music, all ages art workshops, interactive art installations and more!!

Sculptures, paintings, film, and music inspired by this mysterious mycelial life form will be featured alongside hands on workshops and educational discussions revealing the many real world applications for mushroom cultivation in contemporary urban life. Mushroom City is also a space to build community aligned with and beside the wonders of our natural world.

This year’s festival theme:

Reciprocal restoration is the mutually reinforcing restoration of land and culture such that repair of ecosystem services contributes to cultural revitalization, and renewal of culture promotes restoration of ecological integrity. Based on the indigenous stewardship principle that ‘what we do to the land we do to ourselves’ restoration of land and culture are inseparable. This approach arises from a creative symbiosis between traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and restoration science, which honors and uses the distinctive contributions of both intellectual traditions. Reciprocal restoration recognizes that it is not just the land that is broken, but our relationship to it. Reciprocal restoration encompasses repair of both ecosystem and cultural services while fostering renewed relationships of respect, responsibility, and reciprocity. All flourishing is mutual.” Dr. Robin Kimmerer ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞ #mushroomcityartfestival#mushroomcityvirtualartfestival2020#plantmedicine#reciprocalrestoration

Educar+ Education, Culture and Social Currency in Brazil

Educar+ Education, Culture and Social Currency in Brazil

by Flávia Gonçalves Macêdo
reposted from Bloom’s member forum

Dear all, I would like to ask a little space and support to share two projects I am involved in and really proud of and also to share a bit of my story.

I am Flávia, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and I am the co-founder of an NGO called Educar+. I first joined it in 2017 when it was just a social project where we gathered a bunch of books, volunteers, and kids from favelas. I was driven there by my intention to make a difference in the lives of children of color like me but who did not have the opportunities I had; and also because I did not grow up in a favela so I knew nothing about the reality of their experiences to judge or propose any solution, I needed to know it up close.

So I did, I went there and expanded my bubble. I came to know a childhood completely different from mine, with harsh and violent realities, with many ‘I can’t’ and ‘I don’t want to’ but with a lot of cleverness, joy, and rhythm. It was all very physical, precocious, and real, there was little room for fantasy and imagination.

That’s why I started as a volunteer reading books, then I came back with my own stories, then I created the elephant Tobias and the magical world of Elefantópolis, then I gave an audiovisual workshop and encouraged them to create their own stories, and more recently, during the pandemics, we’ve developed a Game with virtual pedagogical support. Here are some photos of me during this journey ( https://www.instagram.com/p/CFqHmQAJcO0/?utm_sou… ).

Last week we registered as an NGO, it was a great achievement as we are a group of young women with a lot of willingness to give our best to our communities and presenting other perspectives of future for our kids, but with no business background. Our fundraising has been always punctual with donations of goods and services by our volunteer network. And to change that we are doing our first crowdfunding to support the work of two of our women leaders, they also live at the favela and are more actively working with the kids, and also to support the completion of the Game with have developed.

The proposal of this Game is to develop self-directed learning tracks as we go through four main topics (self-knowledge, citizenship, environmental consciousness, and futurism). So each kid has their own tutor, who presents content and challenges around the topic, then kids are rewarded in a social currency as they complete the challenges. They are introduced to a monetary system that is abundant to them and circulates only within the community, and through it, they can have access to goods and services from local entrepreneurs. The main goal of the Game is to provoke questioning ( who they are, how they behave as a community, how their community is interacting with Gaia, and how are we designing our future) and to tricker their curiosity and encourage self-learning practices.

That’s why I am here, to request support in our Game’s crowdfunding ( benfeitoria.com/GameEducarMais ). There are only 2 DAYS LEFT until the end of the campaign so I am currently talking to everybody about it on a last attempt to get closer to our goal. And as an international community, your contribution may have a multiplication power as our Brazilian currency is so devalued.

Besides the beauty of the work we’ve been doing in Educar+, this crowdfunding is additionally special because the contribution made can be reimbursed in a social currency called MUDA. It’s also the currency that is rewarded to the kids and circulates in their local community and a project I am also part of.

Muda is a network created by a group of artists, teachers, hackers, and dreamers that has it’s own non-convertible social currency and seeks to encourage cultural, educational, and socio-environmental actions (such as Educar+) by experimenting with alternative economies based on joy and abundance. We have more than 700 users in our blockchain platform and more than 100 offerings from various places in Brazil.

Here are both projects’ Instagram, which is our main communication platform.

Educar+ – https://www.instagram.com/projeto.educar.mais/

Muda – https://www.instagram.com/mudaoutraseconomias/

Unfortunately, most of our communication is in Portuguese. I am really starting now to communicate these projects throughout the globe.

But if anyone is interested in knowing more about any of the projects I would love to talk about them and clarify any question. I am already grateful for the attention and any support that might come from this post.

Music in Bloom

Music in Bloom

One of my dreams is to be able to find amazing music and art through Bloom Network. I don’t know how common this is, but I find it difficult to find music with lyrics I can relate with. At the same time, I love pop music and how tight the production is. So, I’ll start sharing some of the music I’ve found that feels related to Bloom(ing).

I like to listen to traditional music from all over the world, and hear the land and culture and cosmovisions expressed through it. I’m an ex-classical pianist and have released a couple of very weird records as a vocalist with electronic sample artist Wobbly. As an extended technique vocalist, I appreciate hearing the different vocal styles innovated across the globe over time. It’s infinitely inspiring to be part of Bloom Network and learning from people all over the world about the creative healing work they do in their communities. My love for Earth is connected with the way I listen to music. My intention here is to share that love with you.

To kick off this series, here are three artists whose lyrics send me, and a gorgeous instrumental album of music from Iran and Syria:

Born I

Website: http://bornimusic.com/

Also check out the remix by East Forest:

Bio:
Born I is a Ghanaian-American rapper, known for his work as a multi-genre artist. He has created a catalog of music that includes several Hip Hop, EDM, House Music and hybrid releases. Serving an audience with big ears, Born I’s lyricism and positivity resonates with fans across the hip hop and electronic music spectrums. His songs have been noted by Diddy, and he is a frequent collaborator with top electronic artists. His vision of “unity through art” is what pushes him to constantly break down genre barriers in the music industry. Born is also a mindfulness practitioner and teacher and he incorporates those themes into both his life and his music.

It’s Cosmic (William Padilla-Brown)

Websites: Mushrooms: https://www.mycosymbiotics.net/
Music: https://soundcloud.com/itscosmic

Bloom did an epic interview with William in 2019: https://bloomnetwork.org/bloom-podcast-william-padilla-brown-ep-5/

Bio:
William Padilla-Brown had the opportunity to grow up traveling, living in England, Taiwan, Mexico, New York he now is back in his hometown of New Cumberland, PA. He is a social entrepreneur, citizen scientist, mycologist, amateur phycologist, urban shaman, poet and father to his beloved 3-year old son, Leo. Leaving high school at age 16, Will pursued a non-traditional, independent approach to learning and actively promotes alternative education. He holds Permaculture Design Certificates from Susquehanna Permaculture and NGOZI. In 2014, he established Community Compassion, a nonprofit focused on radical sustainability, based in New Cumberland, PA. In 2015 he founded MycoSymbiotics LLC – a mycological research and mushroom production business. He has raised over 30 types of mushrooms and 6 types of algae. He is driving mycological research in the areas of food production, mycoremediation, and medicinal value. Will educates children and adults alike about topics ranging from nutrition to mushroom cultivation, having led workshops and various programs all over the country. Will is proud to be a contributing editor for Fungi Magazine, the foremost Mycological periodical.

Yaima

Website: https://www.yaimamusic.com/

Citadella was written as a universal call for peace, love and hope. Inspired by the Citadella Monument in Budapest Hungary. The Citadella sits high on a hill, overlooking the cities below as a guardian- calling out for peace and as a reminder for all those who gave their lives for freedom, independance and the prosperity of Hungary. The frequency of true love is as hopeful as The Spring. Yet love can be bittersweet as the complexities of being human obscure this simple truth. When we are able to find Harmony, it amplifies and strengthens the frequency of love- sending the vibration out to the earth to break down conceptual walls, allowing us all to see with the eyes of compassion and unity. The complete heart begins with a simple wish… to love.

Lyrics:

Bittersweet the telling,
Love so true Untold.
Rising through the Sapling,
Commence the Spring of Hope.

Ojala Primavera
La Guardia Citadella
El Corazon completo
Llego de un deseo
Hopefully by Spring,
The guardian Citadella-
The complete heart,
Arrives with a wish.

Two tones design the harmony,
One left, and one on right.
Reverberating Frequency
Pass through the walls tonight.

Ojala Primavera
La Guardia Citadella
El Corazon completo
Llego de un deseo

Yaima Bio:

The Yaima Music Project is a Cascadian Folktronic Duo based in Seattle WA (2014-Present), featuring Multi-Instrumentalist & Producer Masaru Higasa and Vocalist Pepper Proud. They’ve often been described as timeless and unmistakable, offering a balanced synergy of both the masculine and feminine expression. Their melodious soundscapes showcase instruments from all over the world. Inspired by the Majesty of Nature, their musings encompass the listener with driving and revitalizing organic rhythms, transcendent electronic production, warm soothing female vocals and heartened lyricism. Their intention is to create a bridge between Nature and Humankind, an expansive experience that encourages growth and graceful passage for the hearts and minds of their listeners. The name YAIMA emerges from two sources: one from the Mapudungun language meaning “that which water runs through” and the other from the culturally preserved Yaeyama District of Okinawa Japan. Over the last 5 years YAIMAs music has been reaching the ears and hearts of listeners from all around the world.

Quieter Than Silence

Website: https://www.roots-revival.com/quieterthansilence

Bio:

“Quieter than Silence” is an international, multicultural, independent project of the Roots Revival Cultural Association.

“Quieter than Silence” was born from a story of friendship, beyond stereotypes and political conflicts, between an Iranian – Mehdi Aminian and a Syrian – Mohamad Zatari in Bucharest. The project grew, when Leila Soldevila Renault (France), Behnam Masoumi (Iran) and Zabih Vahid (Iran) accepted the invitation to join them.

“Quieter than Silence” is rooted in Syrian, Persian and Sufi music cultures, applying various rhythmical and timbral elements throughout the process.  This makes it a unique artistic repertoire and difficult to attribute to any particular geographical identity.

The ongoing conflicts around the world and the current tragedy in Syria in particular, contemporary existential issues, mystic Sufi literature and poetry, and the various musical traditions from around the globe are the main inspirations in this album and its new approach to composition, rhythm and melody. Musically, it is a synergy between different instruments including ney, setar, oud, kamancheh, percussion, double bass and vocal.

“Quieter than Silence” is not a political statement, rather an aesthetics response to the current political climate.

This album is a dedication to the wandering Syrians, who are suffering from distress and grief. It is a compassionate gesture and a protest against all the empty noise in the world.

Why “Quieter than Silence”?

What is this metaphor we call silence? In our music, silence does not want to abstain from utterance. On the contrary, it wants to render the intentional or imposed state of muteness on the way to universal consciousness and to sublime awareness. This music intends to create a space beyond silence (“Quieter than silence”), of the complete dissolution of speech.  Speech that has been emptied of meaning in an ever noisier and aggressive world. A world where less than ever is being done to revive the human dignity trampled under never ending consumerism, wars, conflicts, nationalism and their consequences. This is an era where words and communication have lost their primary function.

This project makes the symbolic journey of returning to nothingness, a tabula rasa of existence in order to invest sounds with a new creative power, worthy of dialogue.

Bloom team receives award for Top 100 Marketing and Advertising Leaders

Bloom team receives award for Top 100 Marketing and Advertising Leaders

Bloom Network’s ECO (executive creative officer), Magenta Ceiba, was recognized as one of this year’s Top 100 Marketing and Advertising Leaders, by MADcon, a global gathering of brilliant minds that are passionate about marketing.

This has been a team effort developed over thirteen years of relationship-building, creating, and sharing with each other as an international network. Many talented designers, artists and marketing brains have contributed, including:

Hannah Mitchell, Boris Iskhakov, Sobey Wing, Brandon Ancier, Meg Rivers, Maya Zuckerman,
Mira Melaluca,Jessica Perlstein, Matthew Howell, Kristin Maher, and Andrew J. O’Keefe,

as well as many local Bloom organizers whose events, art, and networking expertise connecting different social movements in their regions, all contributed to our collective sense of aesthetic and communications strategy. Together we hope to help match the huge public interest and need there is for regenerative solutions, with the tens of thousands of initiatives around the world who have been building them for decades underground and in tiny pockets of subculture.

It’s clearly time… to Bloom!

You can participate in the fun by becoming a member of Bloom as we develop our cooperative approach to this, or by contributing a donation to help us get started. While we have our strategy dialed in, we haven’t yet lept through the portal to our first round of funding to help this all pop off. Once we start having budget for staff, you will experience the most wonderful monkeywrenching marketing alternative that the world is thirsting for.