a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Section: Interlude with Valerie Constantino
In consideration of worldwide environmental degradation and the ways in which humans are beginning to address these conditions, I’ve reflected upon the gentle and generous qualities encountered in human relationships. And thought that our connections with the earth, its terrain, waters, atmospheres, and all of its flora and fauna might be reset to correspond with our more compassionate instincts. The essence of our individual relationships with the earth and its diversity is just this personal and profound.
The Great Blue Heron in the photomontage Deference is offered a gesture of respect. The gesture signifies the dignity that all are due. The human does not dominate or dictate; she does not project or concede a hierarchy. Her reverence for the bird is derived from self-knowledge and love, as she freely does unto others. She comprehends herself and other as one and the same; her gesture is global.
The sleeper of the photomontage Vigilance rests deeply in stillness, even in the harsh terrain. She knows that her Cottontail sentinel will watch over her for the duration. In time, she will rise and take up her post while her Rabbit counterpart slips into oblivion. They are for each other ardently loyal and vowed to their mutual safeguard. The one cannot not thrive or even exist without the other.
Valerie Constantino is a visual and literary artist, working in a range of traditional and experimental art forms. Her seminal studies in textiles led to investigations of materiality and subjects that penetrate the impermanent qualities of being including traditional mythologies, cross-cultural philosophies, metaphysics, modern physics, and contemporary hybrid art forms. She writes: Even as my understanding of these issues evolves, the study of materiality remains for me the most apt and fertile poetic agent in relation to global events and the indeterminacies of everyday life. Constantino maintains an active exhibition record and interdisciplinary practice. She recently collaborated on the exhibition Instinct Extinct exploring bird migration, scheduled to tour California 2016-2017. She has taught and lectured at a number of academic institutions, and presently
at California State University in Sacramento where she lives and works. Valerie’s work
can be seen at www.valerieconstantino.net