Dearest Patti... 

 

I am writing with the hope that these words find you... and that they find you very well and full hearty.... these words were supposed to be included with a gift that made its way to you at All Together Now, but unfortunately I couldn't make it in the end, but was so delighted to hear that the shirt made its way to you..

 

I am one of small collective of west of Ireland and international artists, poets, musicians, playwrites, composers, designers and imagineers of imagination, who work in music, street art, circus, theatre and film... we would dearly love to invite you to collaborate with us on a project called #StateOfUs, a global day of art and activism to be filmed in 2020/2021...  

A Background...

The project grew from explorations around place and identity in relation to Ireland’s 100 year anniversary of the 1916 rising.... In many ways the original 1916 vision was a failed dream, ... the republic of Ireland as we know it today, does not include the whole island of Ireland, and unfortunately since 1937, assumed an identity as one of a catholic nation, an identity that was to all extents and purposes floisted upon us through the marriage of church and state, with little regard at the time of our more ancient cultural identity , the one the 1916 revolutionaries and visionaries,  poets and artists throughout the land including those who established the Abbey Theatre, sought to reclaim... namely that of a Druidic line, where the land was worshiped as a a goddess , Eirú, where annual Ard Feíshenna (governmental/tribal gatherings/festivals) were held each year in TaraUishneach,  and other ancient sites of provincial and national importance  ... were each year the Goddess, chose her own kings, queens and rulers - who would would protect and honor her, the land and her people.

 

While the above is a simplistic rendering of a complex history, the importance of the the land as a Goddess seemed more relevant today than it ever has been, and is also a belief shared in common with many indigenous cultures across the globe, most notably in the First Nations tribes of the Americas, and so it became a central part of the vision ... 

 

The project also grew out of a local bid in Galway at the time, to play host to the European city of culture for 2020, which we subsequently won, ... at the time, when I got to thinking about it I wondered what exactly we were trying to culture as a city, renowned for its street art, poets and theatre makers... what were we trying to culture as Irish people, as citizens of Europe, as citizens of the world ... a world that would appear to be on the brink of all out disaster... to my mind, as Europeans, if we weren’t speaking to the world at large and listening to what it is saying, anything else would feel like an exercise in ego and entertainment and so an idea grew...

 

At first, I saw a global day of music .... something the likes of Live Aid, but with female artists and indigenous artists to the fore.... A large outdoor gig in Galway, with you, Buffy saint Marie, Sinéad O Connor ..perhaps in conversation.... but then that grew... into trying to connect that in in some kind of way, into a more global event, that might inspire some form of public activism.... a gig in as many countries as possible on the same day .... but logistically that proved exttemely broad, and paradoxically artistically too narrow at the same time.... but, that that vision was inspired by the poets and revolutionaries of the folk, rock , beat, jazz and punk eras is true....and of course the spirit of rock n roll.... 

 

In 2016 when the seeds of the idea were forming, I wrote to Sinead O Connor about it, asking her if she would consider a public performance of the proclamation (the original vision of an Irish republic, proclaimed by Padraic Pearse outside the GPO in 1916) underscored by the Irish army brass band, either at the GPO or at Uishneach... As a way of revisiting, re-examining, and perhaps a reclaiming and restating of the dream, and rather than it being a statement of nationality, that it would be a statement of our sovereignty as people who want to create a country ‘that fosters equal rights and opportunities for all her citizens’.

While Ireland has been a global leader of late in terms of gay rights and women’s rights, we too are in the grip of capitalist governance, where the country’s resources are being privatized and stripped bare, a global phenomenon, which leaves us currently in a situation where over 10,000 of our people are homeless.... and another 100,000 plus have little access to secure affordable housing.... the truth about capitalism and neo liberalism is nothing I need to educate you on! But, that central to the project is the idea of the land as a mother, as a provider, a place of sustenance... and in that, primary to the vision is the reclaiming of the female voice and the female narrative , the female experience of the world, and rather than revisiting the history of how we’ve all arrived here, instead reclaiming and uncovering (as corny as it might sound) our ‘herstory’ and a feminine, nurturing vision of the future, placing the issues of civil and human rights, and indigenous rights, land/resource ownership and ultimately governance to the fore.. and that the main narratives of the day would be female and indigenous lead... 

 

To my utter surprise and delight, Sinead replied and agreed....and since then I have been trying to follow the other lines of the vision in whatever way I can...

 

In 2017 I officially launched the idea at Folk Alliance international, to a really great response. but the idea still seemed kind of impossible to me.... and so it developed slowly over the following year, with my closest collaborators (listed below) inbetween our other work commitments.... i attended FA again in February this year to meet with delegates from the first ever indigenous music conference... where i got to speak with indigenous artsis from all over the world, including Buffy Saint Marie, who’s voice, alongside yours and Sinead’s have been the main trio of matriarchs who have been central in the formation of the the vision... through attending these events and speaking about the project at every opportunity possible I have amassed an ever growing list of artists who have expressed and interest in being involved....  from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Africa, Palestine, Europe, USA, Canada and South America

 

But through all this time, I still had (and have!) logistical questions on how it all pieces together...  what does it look like... so I began to imagine it as a series of renegade street art shows... instead of a rock n roll gig.... which then evolved into the idea of a film, where contributing artists could contribute a ‘scene and we could organize the staging and filming/broadcast of the scene as part of a global day of free public art.... performances - music, visual art, circus, ... scenes of poverty and wild abandon ... poetry .... from rooms, on streets.... from war zones, and sacred sites.... images of protest and protection.... dreaming and dancing.... any and all art, from as many countries as possible around the world over a 24 hour period.... and rather than it being about one particular political cause, that it would be a day of... stock taking as it were... where we speak to the present, and for a moment, for a day, we unite... a day of .... peace.... a symbolic act...  of global unity. The creation of a sacred space beyond borders and cultural difference, where all is possible.... a day where we not only give voice to the global concerns effecting us all, but also bear witness in a visual way, to our true power as people... the idea that 1% own most of the worlds wealth, verses us... the 99%.... i figured if we could just see ourselves, once in our history as a globe, in a united way, if we could see it, then maybe we could realize something of it... of our true power as people, a global day of art and activism... a world wide revolution.... a reclamation of our sovereignty.... and our ownership of our land, and resources... and indeed our governments ... that they work on our behalf, not the other way around... a grass roots activism.... a rebellion against the powers of capitalism, consumerism, and neo liberalism sweeping the world and hollowing our our resources...... a peaceful anarchy..... where we reclaim our streets,  assert our sovereignty as free people united,  and state and reclaim or  global human and civil rights... where mothers write to their sons and daughters to ask them to lay their weapons down.... look at the big blue sky.... bear witness to the beauty of the world, speak to the inate goodness and kindness of people, the things we can achieve when we come together....  when we remember how to dance...... like a holy wild circus of art ....  spinning high wire lines between the old and new symbols of our creations, where we can marvel at the feats of human bravery and courage in the face of certain danger. ...of walking the thin line between the worlds ....the achieve of... the act of mastery of ...the human condition.... 

 

 

but how to make the vision real....somedays still it seems like an impossible dream....

 

... my current approach is like this....I’m attempting to make contact with artists who have in some way been central to the vision, to extend an invitation to contribute a ‘scene’, a poem, a song, a performance, visual art, a street scene, a conversation... art in any form, that can take place anywhere in the world of the artists choosing ..... that speaks in some way to our present situation... or to our past, or to something of the future....  the overall aesthetic of the work would be that of an old black and white movie, (I’m obsessed with Wings of Desire!) ...  with a central feminine poetic and prophetic vision.... and once I’ve gathered enough artists , begin to weave it all together scene by scene... that seems at present the best way to approach it... and so I’m writing to you...! 

 

If you would be interested in contributing or collaborating we would love to offer you the opportunity to come to Ireland for a stay, at a time of your choosing so we could discuss the project more fully and explore potential ideas... we would also like to offer you a stay at Thor Ballylee during this time (the home of W.B Yeats and his wife George ) where you could stay and write for a few days (this would need to be in the winter months when it is closed to the public).... ( https://yeatsthoorballylee.org/home/

 

We would also like to say... there is no expectation involved in this offer!!!.. if we could facilitate the above that in itself would be fulfillment enough for us!! (Though perhaps you might wish to do a small reading or performance while you were here if you felt inspired to do so, we would love to facilitate any ideas or wishes you might have... and if you desired to do a bigger event while you were here, I know that Galway2020 would be happy to present it)

 

Also , if you would like to explore the idea of contributing artisitaly towards #StateOfUs we would also like to make clear that all contributions would be fully owned the contributing artist, and each artist would have full artistic control (in collaboration with the overall design team ) over any contributions and its presentation.... and that each artist would have the full technical support of our production team and in every instance necessary the financial support to realize their contribution.

 

We are currently in the phase of privately inviting artists to contribute and further exploring funding options available to us and would gladly update you on these activities and any developments you might wish to be made aware of as we go.

 

It’s a beautiful, but troubled world in which we live, Patti... somedays I admit I find it hard to find peace amid the growing cries of crisis and disaster....but  if we could make something of this project a reality, it would feel like a small victory in the midst of all the chaos  ... I guess that’s how i see it really.,.. like a wild vagabond circus... a theatre of beauty...  scenes that emerge like wilde eyed dreams from the darkness..... 

 

and that if we could express something of that, we would have done something to contribute to the creation and the telling of a story that I think we all need to hear right now... the story of the beauty and bounty of the world, the healing power of the heart and art, and maybe most importantly, the limitlessness of our imaginations and our abilities as people.

 

it’s a many faceted weave, I know, but that it was inspired by the innate rock n roll heart in all of creation is true, and by the knowledge that people do indeed have the power .... and if my hope, that you get to read these words proves true, I can’t help but wonder that you might feel the same way, and believe that together we could create something beautiful, maybe even powerful, that could speak to our wild and fragile nature ....  if so, we would love to continue a conversation with you though whatever medium preferable or at a time and place of your choosing.... 

 

I know... this message is rambling but I hope it contains the ideas I’m hoping to convey.... and I know it’s a wild idea Patti,.... peace.... was it just a dream that some of them had.... back then.... i read recently the words of Black Elk, who said (and I’m paraphrasing!..) . that until each individual knows that the path to peace resides within themselves, the world can never know peace.... What wisdom!.... and I guess, maybe this feels like my pathway to peace... to follow this vision to my best and make what I can of it manifest ( though I also wonder some days that it may drive me demented!! Ha!) .... and.... as for you.... well...  I figure you as a beautifully wise and all round wonderful and powerful creatrix...  someone who I have turned to often over the years when in need of wisdom, inspiration and courage... and so it is with my heart full of all these things I write these words to you ... with the hope, that like Rilke’s angel they might find you out there somewhere, exiting the valley of the lost on an M Train....  make a bed there in your ear.... and whisper to the beautiful, wild and creative spirits of love and peace in us all... in the form of a dream.... 

 

 

More power to you, beautiful Patti Smith, and so much love to you from all of us at #Stateofus 

 

Orlagh x

 

#Stateofus Creative Directors

 

Orlagh De Bhaldraithe (www.orlagh.net) (www.macnas.com)

CR Avery (www.cravery.com

#Stateofus Core Artistic Associates

Little John Nee (http://www.littlejohnnee.com/about-little-john-nee/)

Emma O'Grady (www.macnas.com)

Grace Dyas (http://www.theatreclub.ie/welcome-to-theatreclub/grace-dyas/)

Triona Lillis (https://www.thetweedproject.com/) (www.macnas.com)

 

 

Current Projects

 

Victory on East Hastings

 

Debut feature film, written and directed by CR Avery

feat. a soundtrack collaboration with Orlagh De Bhaldraithe.

Contact Information

www.orlagh.net

Phone: +353(0)86 3705361

Email: stateofusart@gmail.com