All My Relations arts program celebrates tenth anniversary
Sunday, December 06 2009
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Shirlee Stone’s vision has guided the volunteer and contracted staff since she left in late 2006 and the program has grown as the result of her original mission: to honor and strengthen relationships between contemporary American Indian artists and the living influence of preceding generations, between artists and audiences of all ethnic backgrounds, and between art and the vitality of the neighborhood.

Since All My Relations Arts opened at Ancient Traders Gallery, more than 23 exhibits including City Indians, Native Sons and the acclaimed States, Dates and Place, have been mounted in the Gallery and more than 35,000 people have seen the diverse range of contemporary American Indian fine art that has been shown at Ancient Traders Gallery. The program is a cultural collaboration of GNDC and is funded by the McKnight Foundation, Target, ArtsLab, Two Feathers Fund and other generous sponsors. Hokah! Ten Years of Art at Ancient Traders will exhibit more than 30 self-portraits by expert and award-winning American Indian artists.

Painters Jim Denomie (Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe) and Carl Gawboy (Boise Forte Band of Ojibwe) originally came up with the idea of a Native American self-portrait show and will advise the program as they mount the exhibit.

Guest Curator Carolyn Anderson (Diné) and Director/Curator Heid Erdrich (Ojibwe) contacted dozens of painters, print-makers and fine crafters who exhibited at the Gallery in the past, but are still seeking a few artists such as Francis Yelllow, Patrick Rolo and Thomas Thien. Any artists who believe they should be invited to participate can call 612-870-6115 to leave contact information with Gallery staff Sherrie Larson (Ojibwe) or Annette Whitener (Ho Chunk/Cherokee).

Just a few of the 30 artists who have already committed to exhibiting a self-portrait include: David Bradley, Andrea Carlson, Gordon Coons, Jim Denomie, Carl Gawboy, Behon LaPrairie, Carol Ann Smith, Mona Smith, Melissa Whiteman, Cat Whipple, Bobby Wilson and dozens more. The show promises to be an inter-tribal celebration of the diversity of American Indian artists in our communities and across the Upper Midwest.

Guest curator, Carolyn L. Anderson is also an artist who exhibited at Ancient Traders in 2009 and whose self-portrait will be shown in this Winter’s exhibit.  Anderson has staffed the Gallery since 2007 and her paintings have been shown at the Bockley Gallery, Augsburg College and the Susan Hensel Gallery.

Anderson sees this show as a good opportunity to combat American Indian stereotypes. Her invitation to artists states that, “American Indian people have become accustomed to outsiders portraying us in ways that are not truthful and that often create or add to romanticized and often condescending stereotypes. Self-portraiture gives us the power to reflect back what we see in ourselves, and to put ourselves within a context that the general public is not used to seeing thereby overcoming these stereotypes.”

An opening reception will be held on Dec. 11, from 6-9 p.m. There will be a free feast and activities for all ages. An artists panel Q & A will be held on Jan. 23, and a closing party on  January 30th. The event is free and open to the public.  Ancient Traders Gallery is located at 1113 E. Franklin Ave. in Minneapolis.

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