Smudge Face, or Brother Moon




The Athabaskan myth of how the sun and moon came to rest in the sky is one of violence, incest and rape. In a world where darkness and ice dominate the landscape for long periods of the year, the relationship with the heavenly bodies takes unexpected turns (for the western and southern worldview). The moon, according to legend, raped his sister the sun. She discovered who had violated her person by rubbing soot across his face. When confronted the next morning by the betrayal of her brother, the girl cut off her breast and fed it to him. In horror and shame, she then grabbed a burning brand from the fire and retreated to the heavens, far from mankind. Smudge-Face followed, chasing her into the sky. His hunger can be seen waxing and waining each month.

Smudge-Face is part of an ongoing series of watercolor and ink paintings called Out of the Darkness. This series retells the movement out of savagery and violence through a lens of shared global mythology. Pieces 1-5 of Out of the Darkness were awarded second place overall at South Bay Contemporary’s All Themes Considered juried show, 2014.

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