Friday, July 14, 2006

Welcoming Deity to be offered

Banner seen during Dalai Lama's visit

Express Staff Writer

Pam Jacob created images for banners, one of which will be donated as a raffle prize to aid the Sun Valley Wellness Institute.

In Hailey, on Sept. 11, 2005, hanging on the stage behind the Dalai Lama was an original deity banner created by artist Pam Jacob.

That banner and several others, some of which hung as backdrops for VIP events associated with the Dalai Lama's Wood River Valley visit, were displayed at the Friesen Gallery in Ketchum. And later, in October, the pieces went to the Teton Wellness Festival in Wyoming where they were sold. One, however, Jacob gave to Sun Valley resident Dolora Deal to thank her for helping her sew the panels together prior to the Teton festival.

Deal, who is the treasurer and frequent presenter at the Sun Valley Mountain Wellness Festival, was a professional seamstress for many years.

As much as she loves the banner called "Peacock Welcoming Deity," Deal is donating it to a raffle in order to raise money to help support the newly nonprofit Sun Valley Wellness Institute, which now runs the annual festival. It is hanging in Chapter One Bookstore.

"Panels of the banners were taped together with sticky tape during the Dalai Lama's visit," Deal said. "Sewing them was miserable. My fingers were literally bloody."

An Australian native, Jacob knows a bit about bloody fingers and damaged nerves. In 1988, she just barely survived a severe car accident that left her with virtually no left-brain activity. The brain damage resulted in a near total lack of memory, speech, motor skills or the ability to read, write or connect with others.

During her years of recovery, she spent long periods handling a camera without film until she was able to focus her perception, thus cutting down seizures and blackouts caused by excess peripheral information. Eventually, by putting aside even the camera, Jacob rediscovered herself through a reconnection with nature. Her artwork ultimately became The Natural Designs project, and it was this work that was displayed during the Dalai Lama's visit last fall.

"There is a fine line between the completely abstract and the recognizable," Jacob said.

The power of her images comes from this fine line. "You have to be hit straight away—in the heart chakra—on a cellular level," Jacob said. "It's within human nature to need to understand. I'm trying to break you away from this left-brain mode of thinking and existing."

Jacob will say there is no manipulation—only duplication and color changes. "If you see a brown dog running down the street, your brain says 'dog'. But, if you see a purple-polka-dotted dog, then your brain says, 'Wait a minute.' The neurons in your brain begin firing and creating new neural pathways, which affects you, in the end, on a deep, cerebral level."

A drawing for the banner will be held Sept. 11, in commemoration of the first anniversary of the Dalai Lama's visit and the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Raffle tickets are $10 each and available at Chapter One Bookstore in Ketchum.

The goal is to raise $3,000 from this raffle. The Wellness Institute needs to raise $30,000 to $50,000 in order to ensure the Wellness Festival is presented again next year, Deal said.

"This has been a passion of mine for years. I'd love to see it on its feet now that the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber is no longer involved.

"I have been involved with the Sun Valley Wellness Festival almost since its inception nine years ago," Deal said. "I love the opportunity to hear the speakers and participate in the variety of venues the festival offers. The festival always brings me growth.

"It's my hope that enough money will be raised to give the festival a head start financially for next year. We see having a full-time director someday, with events every quarter. It's so we can all help each other grow and combine energies."

She paused before adding: "The reason we're doing the drawing on Sept. 11 is to remind us to be compassionate again."

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