Window Of Opportunity
12” x 16”
Acrylic Paint on Canvas
During the late summer of 2006, I visited a small community in Canada’s newest territory to find inspiration from a people with an ancient history. Although Rankin Inlet, Nunavut is a relatively new community, many of the people are descendants of the indigenous Inuit natives who have lived throughout this region for many millennia.
journey took us to an example of Inuit architecture. This structure has a dug
out floor six inches below the ground with thick walls constructed with many
layers of moss. Caribou bones were used as rafters and the leather hides were
stretched over the roof and the gable ends. These structures used to dot our
northern landscapes. This last example that I sat inside, was the only one in the
entire area. My friend told me that he is concerned because there are fewer and
fewer memories of these ancient ways remaining.
The afternoon sun shone brightly onto the caribou hides and I marveled at all the contrasting textures that I saw. While I snapped a couple of photographs I made the comment that these could be the oldest windows in the world. They kept the rain, wind and snow out, while allowing the light to come in and add warmth to the dwelling. This painting was inspired by the textures that I saw that afternoon. The opportunity that I refer to in the title speaks of our ability to realize that the ancient wisdom of our elders will help us to create a brighter future for our world.
Before fast food drive thru, clear cut forestlands, styrofoam packaging, nuclear bombs, subdivisions with green painted rocks for lawns and expanding deserts, another kind of people inhabited this Earth. With lives filled with science, architecture, art, fashion, medicine, sport and entertainment, indigenous natives have thrived by respecting the heartbeat of life, enabling them to live in harmony for the benefit of their environment.
Our ability to shape a peaceful future is still possible if we continue to recognize all the windows of opportunity the surround us throughout our lives.
In 2014, I ran for Mayor of London, ON! I knew I would never win the election… but that is not why I ran. I got involved so that I could find ways to speak to my community about our need to become sustainable! It was a great experience for me and my campaign got a lot of people talking about our need to change.
In 2012, while I was driving The Peacebus, I met lots of talented students who worked with me on several art projects. Ava was one of them. When she heard that I was running for Mayor, she wanted to help me by making a special ‘Mr. Jim For Mayor’ T-shirt! I was very honoured to receive such a fantastic gift.
After the election was over, I took some time to send everyone who supported my effort a thank you. Since Ava and all the other students who rode The Peacebus know how I’m always talking about making positive changes in the world… and Window Of Opportunity is about finding ways to make change… I thought that I would give this painting to her! Ava and her father were both delighted to receive this. I figured that this art would continue to inspire Ava as she grew up and continued her studies at university.
Although I haven’t seen Ava in many years, her father and I still get together every once in a while and exchange garden plants and homemade jams! I’m actually expecting to meet up with David in the next few weeks so we can exchange different varieties of raspberry canes! He always lets me know that my painting is enjoying itself in their home!!
August 21, 2023