What We're Listening To: Life Giver
From Gibrán Rivera: Jihan Gearon is an artist who is pouring her spirit into the sort of art that can change your life. She is a friend. We met when I used to facilitate the fellowship that developed the Young Climate Leaders Network. I think of her as a recovering activist. But that’s not exactly true. She can’t stop being an activist. She is just another one among the ranks of us who are looking for a better, kinder, and more sustainable way to make the world whole again.
I titled this episode “Life Giver,” because that is who Jihan is, and what she does. She breathes life into the world. She reminds us that we can create anything. Here you’ll learn about how: at the age of thirty-five, Jihan was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. As part of her journey of healing, she turned to painting, creating bold, powerful works that featured the animals, people, and other beings that protected, motivated, and transformed her during her recovery. Her paintings bring her passions in life together, showcasing feminine energy, connections with the natural world, and the future of a healthy planet.
Not one of us will be spared the tragedies of human existence. It behooves each of us to learn from those who come through these as even bigger and brighter souls than they were before grief happened.
Jihan describes herself as “an Indigenous feminist, painter, writer, organizer, and leader in Indigenous environmental justice.” She is a Diné and Nahiłii (Black) member of the Navajo Nation. And she is also a graduate of Stanford University.
Jihan doesn’t just make art, she is also a consultant and a teacher helping leaders and organizations to apply the best of indigenous wisdom to the work we do in the world.