Illusion of Sovereignty

Judith Lowry (b. 1948)

I was fortunate to see the painting Jingle, Jingle (1997) by Judith Lowry hanging in the Denver Art Museum in the third floor Native American art area. Her ancestry is Hammawi Band of Pit River, Mt. Maidu, Washoe, Scottish, Irish, and Australian. The painting is of a “scantily clad” Indian maiden kneeling with coins issuing forth from her left hand onto the floor in front of her. Behind her are casino paraphernalia.

The following quote was taken from an explanatory label pasted next to the painting. “She visualizes the image in her mind and names them before she even begins to paint. Jingle, Jingle captures her thoughts about Indian casinos and the seduction of wealth. It is not a protest [Oh, but it is!] because she believes it is the tribes’ sovereign right to pursue this form of economic development. Instead this painting is a personal memorial to a cousin who was murdered when he threatened to reveal suspected corruption in a casino.”

In Simple Reality it is our responsibility to speak the truth no matter how painful that might be. Unfortunately, Lowry is not clear about the importance of taking a stand against self-destructive behavior. Her painting is an unambiguous statement against the influence of the security center of the false self.

It is one thing to exercise one’s “sovereignty” either individually or collectively; it is quite another to exercise it consciously in a healthy way. Once again, the work of an artist communicated perhaps more than she consciously intended.

Sovereignty is an illusion in the global village where Oneness is the only sustainable reality. As our artists remain true to their heartfelt vision, truth and beauty proceed toward awakening hand in hand.   


Find a much more in-depth discussion in books by Roy Charles Henry. 

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