A Gathering of the Tribes

Steve Cannon is an incredible, exuberant, generous force of nature.  He continually keeps himself alert, attuned, and receptive to the creative and political arena around him, and showcases the most relevant, cutting edge, and original art in Tribes, the magazine, and the website, www.tribes.org, which features essays, film reviews, events, videos, and books by artists of all cultures and nationalities.

The celebration of the artist and the cultivation of creativity, balance and cultivation of the inner self in the midst of chaos, are themes that are revisited and given a true voice here. Virginia Bryant writes, "Who would argue that it is a lack of balance that is the largest and most disruptive beast in the jungle of contemporary life? Balance is not as important as we would like it to be, we have not lost enough, we are not close enough to extinction, leave the contemplation and prayers to the monks and artists. It seems there may be those invested in keeping their numbers small so that nothing changes? The supremacy of the lockjaw logic of royal and paternalistic order continues on. Truly it is not the one with the most toys that wins, rather it is the ones that point the way to hopes far less dense than the one we now inhabit using healing as a model rather than unlimited growth and acquisition, which is transformed into destructive malevolence  for life by its overvaluation and lack of consideration for the spirit. This imbalance is the core issue facing the planetary community now."

This website is filled with wisdom from sages, elders, and dynamically engaged artists who contribute to the symphony (or cacophony) of the world as it exists right now. Quotes from Paul Simon's Graceland, videos of Amiri Baraka reading fire, and Patricia Spear's Jones thoughtful and insightful review of Toni Morrison's prophetic and haunting new novel, A Mercy, are some of the soul-nourishing gifts that you will find on this page. He also includes work from younger artists like Jae Kramison's "Little Girls Have Heart Attacks", which feels like it hits almost too close to home. Is there a way to come back from the brink of madness, or thrive & work in it, productively, as a human being and a spirit, with dignity and grace, after living a life of excess and self-indulgence?  Perhaps by showing profound gratitude for the multitude of souls who are living responsibly and setting an example with their own very existence and light! Artists like Mr. Cannon, Pat Stier,  Luis Chaluisan, Ornette Coleman, Toni Morrison, Patricia Spears Jones, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, who extend their love, wisdom, and guidance to the lost among the flock with their body of work, their creative force, and their Life set an example with their dynamic way of being. Sometimes art can the contemplation of art can work wonders to save a life.  Words, images, and deeds can have that effect. One remembers to be grateful and productive to show gratitude for all that we have been given, an abundance of light and joy in this world, a world filled with so many talented & expressive souls it would be a pity to miss out on the change, or not be a part of it, on a real level.

Virginia Bryant writes, "Healing is in too much the minority of positive events happening on this planet at this time and art is hence infused with multiple meanings and references which may in a best case scenario infuse it with the life spirit; if only for the practitioner, which is one of a very few anecdotes to living in a culture that worships the material.  Partly because these practices lead to an interior freedom that is the antithesis of being a good little soldier or going "to work" everyday, "art" is not encouraged as a function of individuation or a way of infusing personal lives with spiritual meaning, but rather utilized to generate and support bureaucracy, signify obscene wealth and irresponsible power and the least wretched of this group, as decoration.. Decoration is actually a good thing. We just want more from art. We have gone more in the direction of "more" of everything except what art is its fundamental core, which is spiritual."

Living a life of decoration and irresponsibility has been entertaining, but ultimately shameful and comedic. Jesus Christ, is there a way to function as a relevant human being and stop being a disgrace? I want to say Yes. Yes. Yes. A miracle on the Hudson yesterday. Life is full of setbacks, which are necessary and humbling and grounding…how to listen? God, I'm listening. And so grateful for the multitude of voices around me, who truly bring life to the world with their Grace.


Ishle Yi Park