Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Arts’ category

Konstanz: Jan Hus’ last stand

Above/featured: Old Town from the Bodensee (Lake Constance): visible from left-to-right are respectively the broad-roofed Konzilgebäude (Council Building), Münster (tall Cathedral spire behind sailboat), and the Dominikanerinsel (Dominicans Island). Photo on 23 Sep 2017.

6 July is a national holiday in the Czech Republic; the formal name is “the day Jan Hus was burned at the stake” (Den upálení mistra Jana Husa).

I wrote previously about medieval Bohemian theologian and reformer Jan Hus (John Huss) whose teachings in the relatively novelty of the Czech language and criticisms about abuse and injustice within the Catholic Church predated Martin Luther’s own revolution for change by almost 100 years. Hus’ place within Czech history is fixed onto the nation with a giant memorial sculpture at the centre of Old Town Square in the capital city of Prague. His place is also assured in the European Reformation as seen in full display at the world’s largest Reformation Monument in the German city of Worms. Hus’ conviction and execution and the resulting armed conflicts would give rise not only to the concept of European unity (see also the prominent Czech historical figure George of Poděbrady), but would also give way to the European continental wars of religion.

As key historical aspects for creating unique Bohemian and subsequent Czech identity, Hus’ life, final days, and death are also a part of the historical record in the southern German city of Konstanz (Constance in English, Kostnice in Czech).


How Hus got here

The backdrop was the one of the largest conferences in the Middle Age. The Council of Constance met from 1414 to 1418, during which one key directive of the synod was to decide once and for all a single pope from three candidates. With the Council’s election of Pope Martin V in 1417, the Papal Schism which began in 1378 effectively came to an end; this would also be the one and only time a pope was elected on German soil. As the only meeting of its kind held north of the Alps, this massive medieval assembly gathered tens of thousands of people, including religious, political, civic, and social leaders; scholars and other civic officials; as well as traders and merchants from around the continent.

Constance had become a free Imperial city in the late 12th-century, allowing the city to prosper by trade of many goods around the European continent and onto the Mediterranean to destinations in Africa and the Middle East. The city was chosen to host the 15th-century conference, because the city as bishopric had sufficient space and resources to host, house, and feed a very large number of conference guests. Constance has the nickname “Stadt des Konzils” or the “Council City”, and has been included as part of the Hussite Cultural Route (Hussitische Kulturroute), which traces Hus’ final journey from Prague to Konstanz.

As follower of English philosopher John Wycliffe, Hus spoke out on flagrant abuse and corruption, especially on the sale of indulgences with the act of forgiveness for sin being used as a tool to increase church income. At a time when the church claimed complete spiritual, moral, and civic authority, Hus was an obvious troublemaker, and the central church authority punished him with censure and excommunication. Hus was called to travel from Prague to Konstanz and answer charges of heresy at the Council of Constance. He ignored the pleas of friends and colleagues to stay put (“it’s a trap!”), and armed with an apparent imperial promise of safe passage and conduct, he set off on his journey to Konstanz. Upon arrival in November 1414, the promise was naught and the betrayal complete; Hus was promptly arrested, imprisoned, and tortured in various places throughout the area for several months. In refusing to recant over his criticisms against the church, he was never given a fair trial. The Council convicted him of heresy inside the city’s cathedral on 6 July 1415. Hus was immediately handed over to the civil authority, who condemned him to death by burning at the stake on the same day. Jan Hus is revered as a key historical figure for Czechs and the Bohemian Reformation, just as Martin Luther would be for his role to kick off the German Reformation almost 100 years later.


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The Troll II, Alison Marks, Tlingit, The Troll, Fremont, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: native Seattle, The Troll II

Inside the museum, I turned the corner and I saw a representation of a troll with its hand on a half-buried car to the lower-right.

Wait a sec … that’s very familiar.

In acknowledgement of one of Seattle’s sculptural landmarks The Fremont Troll, indigenous Tlingit artist Alison Marks produced her version, “The Troll II”, for the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington. Marks states:

The Troll II, Alison Marks, Tlingit, The Troll, Fremont, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA, fotoeins.com

Alison Marks, about her “The Troll II” in reference to The Fremont Troll.

Alison Marks became the first Tlingit woman to carve and raise a totem pole when her pole was raised in Yakutat, Alaska on 27 October 2019.

⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣I made the photos above on 5 March 2020 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-ha5.

“Iconic Black Women”, by Seattle artist Hiawatha D

(Best you view these images NOT on a tiny mobile screen, but from your desktop or laptop. You can either view the scrolling gallery above, or move down into the post for the same images with important informative captions.)

As part of an ongoing journey to learn more about Seattle’s black community and their ongoing story, I visited the city’s Northwest African American Museum (NAAMNW) in March 2020. The museum’s permanent collection casts a spotlight on black migration within the United States, and the contributions by blacks to the nation and to the American Pacific Northwest. Also timely was the simultaneous visit of the NHL’s Black Hockey History mobile museum as part of their 14-city tour throughout North America.

I was especially moved by the museum’s special exhibition “Iconic Black Women: Ain’t I A Woman“, by Hiawatha D, an artist based in Seattle. His work and paintings highlight his story as a black man and black artist in America. His series of paintings “Iconic Black Women” is about positive images of strong confident black women who’ve been key cultural contributors to human rights, music, literature, and sport. On sight, the context, clothing, and body language for some of these figures may be immediate and familiar. But many of the people painted don’t have faces, which allows viewers, especially young women, to see themselves in these figures, sparking and strengthening a connection between viewer and iconic black women.

I would love to see another name added to this list of iconic black women: Viola Desmond.


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A Salish Welcome, Marvin Oliver, Shilshole, Duwasmish, Salmon Bay, Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Ballard, Seattle, WA, USA, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: native Seattle, A Salish Welcome

The western edge of present-day Ballard where Salmon Bay meets Puget Sound (Salish Sea) was once a lively place for local indigenous people, near k̓iłalabəd (“hanging on the shoulder”) and šəlšúlucid (“mouth of Shilshole”). The Chittenden locks would have been near or at the location of the former indigenous village of šəlšúl for the Shilshole people. The 2010 wood statue, “A Salish Welcome” by Marvin Oliver, stands facing Salmon Bay. With support from Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Office Of Arts, the accompanying plaque for the statue reads:⁣⁣

‘A Salish Welcome’ blends traditional Salish forms with contemporary media to create a sculpture that honors the local indigenous people and celebrates the abundant and vital life on this restored salmon habitat. The Welcome Figure traditionally stood in a prominent place in a Salish village to welcome guests. It is intended to mark and enhance this gathering place for contemplating our rich cultural heritage and connecting with the native landscape. This monumental Salish figure in ceremonial robe greets us and reminds us that we are stewards of this evolving living landscape for new generations of salmon and people alike. The disk of salmon represents the vital life cycle of the Pacific salmon, creating a timeless ‘vision’ for future generations.

⁣Marvin Oliver who was of Quinault and Isleta-Pueblo ancestry passed away on 17 July 2019 at the age of 73.

I obtained place names from ⁣⁣from “An Atlas of Indigenous Seattle” by Coll Thrush and Nile Thompson with maps by Amir Sheikh, appearing in Thrush’s book “Native Seattle” (2nd edition, 2017).

I made the photo above on 5 March 2020 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/1000-sec, f/8, ISO 1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-h9C.

Guthrie Theater, Gold Medal Flour, Mill City Museum, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday in MSP: Guthrie and the Gold Medal

Between 2003 and 2006, I spent three memorably enjoyable years in Minneapolis and working at the University of Minnesota. I visited the Twin Cities as one of many destinations during my year-long RTW in 2012, and I returned again briefly in 2019 to see what became of the city.

The “Gold Medal Flour” is a city landmark associated with the Mill City Museum and the history and economic impact of flour mills. Next door is another city landmark that is the Guthrie Theater; visitors can step inside to gaze at the architecture and interior design, as well as panorama views over the city and Mississippi River.

I made the photo above on 11 March 2019 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/1000-sec, f/11, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-gn1.

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