Looking towards the Spring…

I have a new series of photographs that I am sharing, its entitled ‘From my Window.’

'Looking towards Spring, Sage Drying,' 2011, photo by Catherine Herrera

You can view the slideshow here.

I am working on the installation footage, and editing a short video about the residency of Kim Shuck and Michael Horse.  Working with both of them, and now, going over the footage and interviews for ‘Relations,’ I am excited to work hard this Spring to finish interviewing the entire committee. The NAPAC has such an amazing range of community members and artists, I really look forward to speaking with them about how museums and Native communities can develop projects and collaborations that can inspire greater dialogue about Native American Art, and artists, as well as how institutions and nations can join together to overcome difficult histories to forge new paths.

As Michael Horse shares in his interview, ‘this is for the youth.’ By building bridges, the youth can gain the benefit of strong relations with the museum and institutions sharing tribal or Native American art. As Kim Shuck remarked, its a step in the right direction when Native American artists are shown in an art museum instead of only an anthropological museum, ‘a diorama after 20 years of art school.’

I continue working on the Bridge Installation, although different in nature, the spirit of the installation is very much the same as I find coming through the editing process with ‘Relations.’ Its a real challenge at times to bridge cultures, yet the rewards are so many.

The installation is a tribute to both the Olmec and Ohlone cultures. Thematically, the installation deals with memory, history and cultural recovery. The installation pays tribute to the enduring Olmec culture, the exquisite pieces in the de Young Museum’s exhibit opening February 18th, 2011 are the largest testament to that truth. Yet, the Olmec, and often said of the Ohlone, are in many ways a mystery to most, and yet, their impact can be recognized in the influences that carry forth today. Sometimes, the presence of that history is not immediately known, or easily remembered. Still, it is there.

It is believed sites like Teotihuacan and Tula were influenced by the Olmec culture, and my installation focuses on those two sites. I lived in Mexico for many years, and one of my favorite places to pass a day was Teotihuacan.

'Templo Quezacuatl,' 1999. Phot by Catherine Herrera

I loved the pyramids, but, also the area surrounding, where one could sit for a second and think. Many of the smaller adjacent parts of Teotihuacan still remain to be studied.  This is a true here in San Francisco, where ancient Ohlone sites still require a great deal of study.

'Quetzalcoatl,' 1999. Photo by Catherine Herrera.
'Quetzalcoatl,' 1999. Photo by Catherine Herrera.

The exhibit deals with the notion of bridging history – how does culture survive, who are the bridge walkers who make that possible? This is a question I tackle in the documentary too.

The Ohlone people have been in the Bay Area region for thousands of years. One site in San Francisco dates back 7-10,000 years. When I was doing research on my family, I found out that an Ohlone Shellmound was destroyed in 1861 to make room for what is now Aquatic Park. I wondered what my great, great, great grandfather and mother must have felt living here at the same time. Over and over again, in researching Ohlone history to better understand my own family history, I am amazed at what the Ohlone had to endure over time, over a very long time. As I have written about in my Witness the Healing blog, there are so many hopeful events, activities and efforts now among the Ohlone community, its very inspiring to me.

Corrina Gould is someone who crosses bridges to understanding in her yearly honoring of the Shellmounds,  with an annual walk that travels among the known Ohlone Shellmounds, to pray and to share information about the Ohlone history, and activities today.

There have been these bridge walkers who carried tradition and memory all the way back to the beginning.

My installation is a tribute to those who ensure culture passes down, and remains present for each generation.

For this part of the installation, I have been filming new footage, keeping in mind how the ‘melody’ of the three screens will play together, with the additional elements of the tower view, and interactive bridge building, to balance.

I have the walk through next week. On a practical level, I need to get speakers for the audio element, and, time the elevator ride up.

Ultimately, this installation is in itself a tribute to the NAPAC and de Young Museum, which have had to cross the bridge of culture – back and forth – several times, and, still continue on to find a way to share Native and Indigenous art of the past and present.

2 thoughts on “Looking towards the Spring…

  1. Thank you! I have some new ones from the series that I will post on Sweet Entertainment tomorrow, let me know what you think if you get a chance. And, thanks for stopping by!



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