Meeting the Tribe

Valérie Chaussonnet
H 15” x W 22” x D 7″

“Meeting the Tribe” is a darker piece, one I thought about for close to two years before
completing it. Here I have cranked up the anxiety level: now there is a child and a baby, so a
family, and that much more pressure. The angle of the nef is more foreboding, there is more
surf, and it looks like it could possibly flip over. No escaping falling into the group. The “tribe”
has gossiping members, each wanting to pitch their own opinion and ensuring their role and
power within the group, and careful to seem to match the consensus, a trap for all. A mob. Just
like in a family, a community can either support or bully and even kill members depending on compliance with the law of the group. Fitting then is a question of life and death. I am thinking of
those escaping horrific situations at home and being confronted with rejection instead of
inclusion. Sadly, we all know what I mean.

And still, I want this piece to have an optimistic and futuristic opening all the same (that’s me
being me). Like in the movie Whale Rider, I imagine it is also the story of the small girl at the
front of the large group, who is curious and welcoming to the new young family, and who is the
future leader of a tribe that never had a woman as a leader before. Here is to hope and peace.