natural born artist

April 12, 2021

A “hunter-gatherer” artist, is how Michele Oka Doner describes herself. Oka Doner’s great love of the natural world weaves its way into everything she creates, from her jewellery to her sculpture, to her public art, furniture and set design. She is massively prolific, beautifully articulate and reminds me of a grecian caryatid. In this lovely film, we step into Oka Doner’s breathtaking New York home –– her laboratory for living –– as the artist shares her books, her weird and wonderful natural objects, paintings, furnishings, and her wisdom. “What do we do when we create? What do we do when we work? Just like a dog knows its own bone, it doesn’t dig up another dog’s bone, or a bird gets up and knows its own song, I sing of what I learned and knew. My first language was not English, it was the beach, the amulets, the shapes, the leaves; all of the things that children don’t have language for yet, but they see and observe… and that has stayed with me.”

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