A Story painting by Rebecca Lee Kunz from her 2021 Exhibit STORY PAINTINGS: A Mythological Narrative told by the Creatures of the Anthropocene 

at the Lloyd Kiva New Gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts ©2021

In the spring of 2020, I kept having images of coyotes falling from the sky. Sometimes they weren’t falling down, but strangely, falling Up. At that time I happened to be doing a deep dive into the Cherokee creation myth. From this story, we know that animals, plants, and people lived in the Sky Vault, long before they lived on Earth. Some time later the Earth came to be, and living things came to live upon it. The Earth was tied to the Sky Vault by cords and this land became our new home. But, as prophecy tells us, one day the Earth will grow tired and fall back into the sea.

In 2020, as a mother of three children living through a pandemic here on Earth, I felt that everything I knew was spiraling out of control. Images of falling animals started flooding my imagination. One after another… dropping, floating, flying and sometimes willingly jumping back up through the clouds (maybe to the Sky Vault?). Why were they falling? What were these images trying to teach me?

As I attempt to give visual representation to the images that live in my imagination, I ask these questions. And my hope is not to find answers, but that in the asking, we learn something about how to better inhabit these bodies of ours and this Earth that we share. Together we are forging our own new myths, new stories- and my hope is that we do so in the spirit of reciprocity.


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