June 03, 2010

Theosophy temple has Hiawatha paintings

Life of Hiawatha captured on canvas

By Gayle CuddyTemple member Harold Forgostein, now deceased, crafted a series of 24 oil paintings that are on view by appointment.

They depict the fascinating legend of the man who brought together what would become the League of Six Nations. Its participatory democracy reportedly inspired Benjamin Franklin to use them as a model for the U.S. Constitution.
And:One of my favorite paintings shows Hiawatha in his canoe, sailing over the sunset path in the water to his home with the Great Spirit after his mission on earth was completed.

Eleanor Shumway, guardian in chief at the Temple of the People, explained the philosophy of the temple and how it is based on theosophy and integrated with American Indian ideas. The temple was founded in 1898 in Syracuse, New York, and moved to Halcyon in 1903. Halcyon was considered a center of power and a place of healing.
Comment:  Another connection between upstate New York, spirituality, and Indians.

The Hiawatha painting looks overly romantic to me--nice but nothing special. I hope these paintings tell the life of the real Hiawatha, not the legendary Hiawatha from Longfellow's poem.

For more on the subject, see The Song of Hiawatha and Romanticized Indians.

Below:  "Marti Fast, a member of the Temple of the People, stands with a Harold Forgostein painting depicting Hiawatha in his canoe. The series of oil paintings is on view by appointment at University Center Gallery of the Temple of the People in the village of Halcyon."

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