About the Artist
Waabanangagokwe indizhinikaanigoo. Maashkinoozhe indoodem. Miskwaabikaang indoonjibaa. My name is Michelle Defoe. I am Muskie Clan. I am from Red Cliff Wisconsin. I am a mother, a painter, a beadwork artist and moccasin maker. I also do mural work and public art. I sometimes work with birchbark, quillwork, sewing and regalia making. Art is a form of self expression, healing and connection to my cultural roots. Art is a way to bring community together and create positive experiences across generations. It can also bridge cultural teachings from our ancestors to future generations.
About the Artwork + Radical Rest
"I chose this piece to submit for radical rest because, even in the midst of a storm we can find peacefulness and calmness. The image is of a little girl and her mother. There is chaos and a storm happening around them. The storm is represented by the clouds, wind blowing their hair and waves in the water. They found a “safe place” or “safe haven” on the turtle’s back. The turtle is carrying them through the waves. The blanket wrapped around them represents warmth, safety and security.
Finding this “safe place” or “calm place” in the midst of chaos is what helps us process trauma, anxiety, fear and confusion. We can find this place within ourselves. We can share this calmness with our children to role model for them what self-care looks like. We can be that calm place for them until they are able to create that for themselves. Radical rest, self-care and healing are very important when doing community work because you may be working through your own trauma while also supporting others at the same time. It is easy to experience burn out and become unwell or unbalanced in the process. Finding this balance and peacefulness inside of yourself is acquired by practicing radical rest. It is giving yourself space to reflect on the work that you are doing. It is giving yourself space to process excess stress and emotions. It is giving yourself space to heal. It is allowing yourself to be quiet enough to hear your own intuition so that you can lead from a place of love and understanding."