Click here to view this artwork, Keepers of Wisdom | Ethiopia, and its currently available sizes.

Today I was contemplating the title given to this image, Keepers of Wisdom. The women of the Suri tribe that has for centuries lived in the Omo River Vally of Ehtiopia, practice sacred rituals and ancient traditions, including painting their bodies and faces. The bold, expressive gestures created with mud and ochre establish not just their physical beauty, but the indigenous intelligence that streams throughout their community and is passed from one generation to the next.

I think of women’s wisdom as being intuitive. It emanates out into the world in forms we call empathy, imagination, respect, sensitivity. It is an elemental force that is born in us, not manufactured or pushed forward by men or society or other women. It just belongs. And women house it.

The issue of gender is complicated. I’m all for equity and everyone having an equal sense of being in the world. But understating ourselves and carving our response into something smaller so a man can become bigger is manufactured by society and to be resisted. Which means true and equal co-existence must be two pieces working in balance. We must never twist ourselves into being what someone else needs us to be or bend our identities simply to fit in.

What might we do instead, you ask? Look into this image, where there is authenticity, confidence, and girls and women aware of their bigness and power in the world. This girl is no nonsense. As the women surround and embrace her, she knows the wisdom of community and finds it resides within herself and among its keepers.


16 x 24 inches (40.64 x 60.96 cm)

24 x 36 inches (60.96 x 91.44 cm)

30 x 45 inches (76.2   x 114.3 cm)

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