River. House. Arts = Contemporary Indian Art in Ohio
Presented by yours truly:
Indian Enough: Expressions of Contemporary Indian Identity
now on display until June 10th at the River House Arts Gallery in Perrysburg, Ohio. www.river-house-arts.com/
419.874.8900 | 115 W Front Street | Perrysburg, OH 43551
After my kickstarter was funded, I received a magnitude of calls- but none so enthusiastic as the one I received at 6am from Miss Paula Baldoni. Paula is the co-owner of the River House Arts Gallery in Perrysburg, Ohio. After some discussion, we decided to display pieces from my collections: iHuman, We Are One People and We Emerge (that was 10 months ago, and golly, time is just flying by). Before I knew it I was packing my bags and headed to Perrysburg…
I am so pleased with the display of works and it’s flow…
iHuman is my exploration of duality: a mixed medium exhibit of contemporary photography interwoven with sacred Coast Salish cedar: this collection represents the inherent cultural duality that Native people live amongst.
Matika describes this project, “ I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have had the opportunity to create this series. When I envisioned this work, I knew it would take a very long time to complete; from start to finish, it took me 2 years to gather enough cedar (which was donated, traded for and gathered), learn to weave, create the images and put it all together. Several of my family members mentored and contributed to the weaving of these mattes, including master weavers, my Auntie Judy, and cousins Heather and Toni-Jo Gobin, as well as family, Darkfeather and Bibiana Anchetta. My Aunt Lona Wilbur also helped me weave, and my sister Chena Joseph helped with the finishing. In retrospect, I understand that being from a tribe, means that I’ll never be alone; and when I ask for help, several members will step forward. This exhibit pays homage to those core values and the continuation of preservation of our sacred culture. I chose to weave with cedar bark because the cedar is the most honored, and sacred element to our people. It is used for several purposes within our community- We pray with the cedar boughs, we use old growth cedar trees to dig out our canoes, we make planks out of the cedar to make our longhouses and we use it’s bark for weaving baskets, mattes, and clothes.
The images that are showcased inside of the cedar were taken at our annual “canoe journey”. Every year, hundreds of Coast Salish Tribes paddle to one host destination. The “journey” can sometimes take up to 6 weeks. Once at the host tribe (these images were taken when Swinomish was hosting the journey), each tribe will participate in “protocol”. During protocol the tribes will dance, tell stories and offer prayers for one another.
This series is a living representation that Native America survived, that our cultural beliefs are still being practiced and that the revitalization of Indian Country will continue.”
We Emerge is another exploration of duality: a black and white photographic exhibit that addresses the complex existence of contemporary Native America. My good friend Star describes it the best, “You have to learn how to wear a moccasin on one foot and a tennis shoe on the other.”
We Emerge is a photographic meditation that examines stereotypical depictions of Native Peoples and our struggles with constant cultural duality and defining self-identity. “It’s a real contemporary issue,” says Wilbur. “How do we define ourselves as Native people? So many of our traditions were lost, and that story has been told. More important is the tremendous amount of cultural revitalization, and its merger with pop culture. I constantly question, how do I as a young Tribal person fit into society, a society of capitalism, materialism, and stimulus packages… yet at the same time, honor the ways of my ancestors?” Wilbur believes that “the use of creative and revealing photography can create an exchange of identities and cultures among peoples; I devise projects to show that everyone is inextricably connected to one another; and that Native America has survived.”
We Are One People
Is a collection of Character Study Portraits of our Coast Salish knowledge holders- our elders.
The Journey Continues.