Nickel Plate Arts Presents Local Artist Sheldon Shalley’s ‘Totems and Nature’s Magic’ Exhibit – Hamilton County Reporter


Submitted by Nickel Plate Arts

Artist Sheldon Shalley will take you on a shamanic journey with his exhibition “Totems and the Magic of Nature”. Read on to learn more about Sheldon’s art in his own words.


Once upon a time, we humans understood that we were part of nature and nature was part of us. There was no separation between us and the natural world. We were one. We also understood that all of nature was inhabited by a spirit and that we could communicate directly with the spirits in nature.

In the past, shamans were the keepers of this sacred knowledge. They are the ones who reminded us that all of nature is divine and that all of nature speaks to us if only we listen. The ancients often adopted the appearance of animals, wearing skins and masks to identify with the specific energies of that animal. For the ancients, every aspect of nature was alive with a power that could connect us to the unseen world of spirit.

Such practices may seem primitive and even stupid to us moderns. But they are no less powerful today. The laws that governed them – the unity of the physical world of matter and the energy world of spirit – are no less relevant.

The totems symbolize the belief in a spiritual connection with nature. A totem is a natural object, usually an animal, but it can be a plant or any object in nature with which we feel a strong connection. According to tradition, we do not choose our totem animal. Your totem animal chooses you. A totem animal is often a guide and teacher on your spiritual journey. Indigenous beliefs further explain that a totem animal is an animal that accompanies you throughout your life. Totems can serve as spiritual guides throughout our lives and provide a significant amount of self-discovery. They can be avenues of self-awareness and self-expression, even unveiling a sense of our true selves.

Since ancient times, animals have served as indications of the personality traits that humans seek to achieve. Animals are among the most powerful and powerful symbols in man’s spiritual toolbox. With the incorporation of animal totems into our daily lives, we can reaffirm our spiritual goals. We can focus internally on the attributes our totems represent and externally experience the character our totems give us.

We can use animal images and other nature totem images to learn more about ourselves and the unseen world. We do not have to believe that these images and totems are beings of great intelligence, but rather that there are archetypal powers that reside behind and oversee all manifestations of Nature. We can connect to these archetypal powers.

One of the ways I connect to these nature totems and the archetypal powers found in nature is through my paintings. I was first asked to paint in a dream in 2002. In this dream, I am invited to dinner at a family’s house. After dinner the host says we are going to paint. I tell him I can’t paint, but he doesn’t seem to care. He takes out canvases, brushes and paints, and we begin to paint. I start by swirling paint on a large canvas. While painting, I notice that images appear. It was as if the painting process in the dream was teaching me how to paint. I was in a dream group at the time and when I told them the dream, they said, “You have to paint. So, following the dream, I started to paint. At first there were very few details in my paintings, but slowly over time the details started to emerge in the way I paint today.

In 2009, still driven by my dreams, I began training in shamanic healing and energy medicine. As part of this training, I learned how to travel to the unseen world of non-ordinary reality and interact with spirit guides, power animals, and other spirit beings who live there. Over time, my paintings have evolved to include images encountered in dreams, images encountered in meditation, and images encountered in shamanic journeys. These images appear in my paintings as a way for me to honor them, interact with them, and integrate them into consciousness, as well as an opportunity to build relationships with them as totems in the larger sense of spiritual beings in non-ordinary reality as encountered in my shamanic life. trips.

For example, on a recent trip to the bottom of a web, I encountered a wolf. According to Native American custom, Wolf helps us find the way to the deepest levels of self-knowledge and intuition. Native Americans have long viewed wolves as teachers or scouts. Wolf brings the gifts of autonomy, endurance and keen intelligence. The wolf brings the totemic energies of freedom and companionship. Wolf brings the magic of extraordinary intuition and telepathy. Here is my painting to honor the wolf totem.

The paintings featured in Totems and nature magic are my way of both honoring and connecting with the animals and flowers that came to me in a dream, during meditation, on a shamanic journey or spoke to me on a walk or spoke to me. just appeared as I looked at the background I had painted.

Looking at my paintings in this exhibition, Totems and nature magic, I invite you to let them speak to you from the imagination of your own soul. Seen in this light, art opens portals between worlds, transcending ordinary time and space and can be a way to connect with your totem or the magic of nature.

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Shalley’s exhibition, Totems and nature magic, is on display at Stephenson House on the Nickel Plate Arts campus from April 1-30. The gallery is free and open to the public from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Artwork can be purchased by contacting Nickel Plate Arts or by ordering on your phone with the QR codes at the gallery. Meet Sheldon in person at his First Friday reception from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, April 1 at Nickel Plate Arts, 107 S. 8and St., Noblesville.

About Nickel Plate Arts

Nickel Plate Arts is a not-for-profit umbrella organization that creates and coordinates arts and cultural experiences in communities in and around East Hamilton County to improve the quality of life for residents, strengthen local economies, and enrich communities. visitor experiences. Nickel Plate Arts is a project of Hamilton County Tourism, Inc. Visit Nickel Plate Arts at 107 S. 8th St., Noblesville, online at, or call (317) 452-3690.


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