Art Walk and Talk: Hidden Voices

It’s hard to miss the giant teepee by the fireplace in the Children’s Wing right now–it’s there because 1) it’s really fun to read inside a giant teepee, and 2) it’s promoting awareness of our upcoming Native American story and dance program by Morning Star on Monday, May 9, at 7:00 pm. By contrast, the art show on the wall, “Hidden Voices: Native Peoples,” is a lot smaller, but no less stunning.

One of my favorite things to do when we have art shows at the library is an “Art Walk and Talk,” or a walk-through of the show with a pen and paper to jot down thoughts and impressions that strike me as I view the pieces. Check out my thoughts for “Hidden Voices.”

I started off by reading the exhibit description, which explained that this collection of photographs highlights the voices and perspectives of native peoples.

IMG_4219The first piece that caught my eye was Ute Car Wash by John Rees. What could be more ordinary and familiar than a fence and a car wash? But it made me feel extremely uncomfortable to see “American” on the fence and at the same time a smiley, white, cartoonish Indian drawn on the car wash. This painting makes me rethink what I mean when I say “American” and how native people feel when they hear that term.

Next I spent a few minutes checking out Cousin and Calf by Maddie Begay. I love the wild-looking hair of the girl and how comfortable she seems with the calf.

Inca Inn by Josh Rose had such bright colors and interesting shapes. They seemed modern and ancient at the same time. Also I can’t decide if the lack of people in this photo is disturbing or makes it tranquil and peaceful.

I loved Two Kids by Savannah Jacket. This photo is so beautiful and heartwarming. Is there anything more universally lovable and wonderful than happy children?

IMG_4237.JPG Rock art Destruction, Rasmussen Cave by Kevin Schley annoyed me greatly because the writing on the wall misspells “trespassing” as “tresspassing.” But the writing itself is also annoying–who decides what is private property? Who first claimed this property to begin with? If you go back far enough, who does the property really belong do and what gives someone the right to stamp “private property” on ancient land?

IMG_4240Ancient Paiute Grounds by Allison Bowers was my favorite piece. It’s such a beautiful, relaxing, enchanting scene. There’s something very majestic and powerful about this picture, almost spiritual. The colors are almost too deep and rich to be believed, and I haven’t seen a sky so starry and blue like that in ages. It made me long to go camping again and just bask in the nighttime outdoor sounds of nature.

Next time you’re here at the library (hopefully for Morning Star on May 9!), take a look at this show. Ask yourself what you find interesting and what these photographs say to you. This show, which comes from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums’ Traveling Exhibition Program, will be on display in the Children’s Wing through June 23.

 

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