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There is a breath, a drumbeat, a heartbeat…

“There is a breath, a drumbeat, a heartbeat that evokes one’s spirits to the depths of one’s soul in all of Rosanne’s work. If you allow yourself to be pulled into her work, you will begin to hear the silenced voices of our ancestors revealing the sacred ways they lived and loved all of the Creators’ blessings.”

The late Minoweh Ikidowin (Clouds in the Wind) of the Pocasset Wampanoag Peoples, Watuppa Reservation, Fall River, Massachusetts.

She walked into my gallery one day, full of wisdom and light, and we became friends for the rest of her life. 

Minoweh Ikidowin (Donna) became an integral part of the gallery, reading her inspirational poetry at openings in support of the artwork, and engaging the local Native community and Brown University, where she worked in the Native Studies department. She would capture everyone’s attention at gallery events when she spoke; they hung on every word. 

When she spoke at other galleries and venues in Providence, RI, I would support her as well, playing the Native flute when the occasion called for it.

I’ll never forget when she hosted Indigenous creative Litefoot to perform on her property back in 2006, when he was doing his ‘Reach the Rez’ tour on reservations across the nation, as a rap artist. 

Donna was so proud of her property. It had always been Native-owned, in her family for generations. This is such a rarity that Litefoot made a point of stopping by. Although the property is vast, the only developed part of it was small, so I laughed as he pulled his huge tour bus onto the narrow driveway. 

Her house just held 20-30 of us, and he treated us to a private performance in Donna’s home. He was such a good sport. He was used to these huge venues! Donna cooked up a batch of old-style fried chicken for him, his family and crew. ​The memory of this day still makes me laugh.

Donna brought so much light to the community. I treasure her words about my artwork, and return to them anytime my steps falter or I need that boost of courage: This is who I am. This is the work that I create.

Even though I’ve exhibited my artwork in galleries in Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island for over 35 years, I still sometimes question myself. 

My work is directly influenced by my blended ancestral heritage: Blackfoot, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Mi’kmaq, French Canadian and Italian. With all these bloodlines, I sometimes feel like I don’t quite belong anywhere.

And yet… This is who I am. I am an artist

This is the work I create—always with a spirit of compassion, respect, balance, and healing:

This is one of the ways that I shine my light. Donna shone her light with her poetry and community-building. She always made me feel welcome. Litefoot shines his light with his acting, filmmaking and rapping.

How do you shine your light? 

P.s. If any of the paintings catch your eye, my virtual Gallery, with… wait for it… prints for sale(!) is coming soon!