Bamboo Peace Pipe Art
In my opinion our modern world is too often characterized by extreme WASTE and excessive HASTE. It seems that anything that is old, slightly broken, defective or no longer state of the art is summarily deemed obsolete and “thrown away”, whether it is a broken marriage, an elderly person with Alzheimer’s or last years iPod or smart phone. Instead of taking more time to “fix” ourselves, our relationships in conflict, or the world in moral crisis and spiritual disrepair we seek to quickly fill our unmet needs and deep wounds with something material, superficial and brand new whether it is someone new to date online or something shiny and new at the shopping mall or car dealership. In terms of healing our individual, social and societal problems, that which represent the more ancestral , older, tribal, or slower and deeper approach is increasingly rejected in favor of the superficial newer versions, the faster cheaper models, or the expedient and more self-advantageous solution.
Bamboo reminds us of our ancestral roots and our interdependent relationship with the natural environment in “long time”.
The SACRED PEACE PIPE has been a symbol of healing, tribal unity-understanding, communication, and the need for spiritually powerful ceremony/ritual for thousands of years, mostly among Aboriginal peoples (and perhaps modern day hippies). My sculptural bamboo PEACE PIPES include discarded materials, found objects, recycled junk, wire, beads, plumbing parts, textile scraps, and an occasional avocado seed. Many of my now over 400 “one of a kind” pipes, boxes and accessories are at least partly confessional, ie. expressions of my own often conflicted personality, personal interests and surreal life experiences. My lifelong interest in Native American art, history and Hawaiian culture are of particular importance. At the same time my art is meant to express a lighthearted sense of humor, irony, and self-deprecation. There is a strong humorist connotation, one that laughs at itself and reminds us to not take anything too seriously. Like all existential dilemmas we must all eventually surrender to the mystery that is life and death. However, as in the Native American and Aboriginal pipe ceremonies, we can still allow ourselves a moment in time to reflect and remember what is truly important, and to accept things as they are and on their own terms. Moreover, there is still time to symbolically pass the sacred peace pipe back and forth among us, and in so doing, offer one another love, humor, healing, appreciation, understanding, and forgiveness, all token gifts of our true humanity.
Cliff Mazer, Ph.D. Atlanta, Georgia