A Joyous Swastika
An Innocent Symbol
swastika is a joyous symbol, and in these works people know they are created
with no hatred in heart, as the ancient symbol of the swastika stands for many
things, to many cultures, all completely innocent.
I understand that it symbolizes horror to some, and plain negativity to others, but I also understand enough to know those horrors were done under a banner with a hakenkreuz (the symbol for Nazi Germany), and I vow never to play with that specific symbol, and especially for what it stands in that sphere. That aside, one cannot ask Buddhist, Vedic Indian (the word swastika is Sanskrit), Chinese, or any other culture who currently use it, and have for thousands of years, to stop its uses because a group of men, and their insane ideas, defiled a short part of its long history. To that, we should never forget.
If a symbol is needed to define what that horror is, as the hakenkreuz, I am fine with that, so long as they are fine with someone, like me, using the swastika.
1, 2, and 3 debuted at Superchief
Gallery's Incorrigible show (Manhattan, NY), March 2013
They were last shown in Santiago, Chile, at Kasa Ecolety, January 2015
on images for larger view
Hindus have used
this sacred symbol in their Chakras for eons. Buddhists have been known to use
it, as well as calling it, "Buddha's heart", though they actually
use the swavastika (pointing to the left) more than the swastika (pointing to
the right). American Indians have used it for over 500 years, both to the left
and to the right.
The swastika means so many things; creative force, destruction, rebirth, divine energy, the spirit or soul a.k.a. "fire inside", the four seasons, etc. It has been used by the Greeks, Romans, Asians, Celts, Vikings, and Muslims. Found throughout Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East. The Hopis used it to represent the migration of their four original tribes. The Norse call it, The Hammer of Thor. It went by the name flyfoot and gammadion... and honestly, the Germans never even called it the swastika. The German word for it was, hakkenkreuz. Swastika is Sanskrit.
One of the best known articles on the swastika was written in 1894 and published by the Smithsonian Institute, fifty years before the use we align it with today.
Actually, before the National Socialists, the swastika was everywhere to be seen. Coca-Cola had a watch fob in the 1920s that said "Drink Coca-Cola--5¢ in bottles" with a big swastika in the middle. Pots and pan handles were adorned with swastikas, as well as tin cans, mason jars, tea towels, hat-pins, jewelry, tablecloths, you-name-it. All over the Art Deco district of Miami, swastikas were seen on sides of buildings and even on the art deco clothing of the early 30s... until, well you get the idea.
The Boy Scouts of America had pennies with swastikas. Even a badge of courage, called The White Swastika. The Boy Scouts of Canada had a swastika badge as well, you would receive it as a "thank you" if you were a nonmember who did something good for the organization. Freemasons had swastika pennies as well. The University of New Mexico yearbook was called The Swastika until 1935 and a large swastika emblazoned on the cover. It was a symbol used by lady's clubs all over America that were founded by The Ladies' Home Journal. It appeared on the cover of the 1908 Sears Catalog. You can even find a mosaic piece covered by swastikas at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and the Furney Courthouse has swastika mosaics all over the damn place. Hell, them Canadians loved the swastika so much they named a town after it! Swastika, Ontario. Their baseball team had a large blue, what else... swastika on the front of their uniforms.
In 1922 there were two all-female hockey teams named, The Swastikas. The Furney Swastikas (which don't forget the courthouse mentioned earlier) who were the 1922 champions, and The Edmonton Alberta Swastikas.
As early as 1918, the Finnish air force had all planes adorned with large swastikas, until 1944 when Russians kept shooting them down thinking they were the German enemy.
In Germany it is illegal to even paint, draw or wear a swastika. So it just goes to show you, the Jewish people are still sensitive about the swastika, but the Aryans are almost as much. Guilt trip, I think?
The swastika is actually an innocent symbol. Innocent, by all accounts, of what has been done in it's name. Museums and institutes, which usually rely on grants both private and governmental, have rejected mostly anything that depicts the swastika as anything other than a neo-Nazi symbol. When one steps into an area that may offend, or sometimes even enlighten someone will always tell you to step back because it must represent something that they believe must never be forgotten.
And as always it takes a lone nut-job, like myself, to stand my ground and fight, and maybe in the end open some eyes and start a new trend of awareness. Perhaps.
This is what ignorance does...
In the 1940s - to appease the U.S. government - Diné Americans (aka Navajo Indians) banned their own symbol.
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