All My Relations arts program celebrates tenth anniversary


All My Relations arts program at Ancient Traders Gallery will celebrate its tenth anniversary by mounting a group show that will serve as a kind of reunion. All artists who have shown at the gallery since it opened a decade ago are invited to present self-portraits in a show title Hokah! Ten Years of Art at Ancient Traders. The anniversary exhibit opens December 11, 2009 and runs through January, 30th 2010.

In 1999, Shirlee Stone and the American Indian Neighborhood Development Corporation (now Great Neighborhoods! Develop-ment Corp-oration/GNDC) created the art program at Ancient Traders in order to feature the work of American Indian artists in the heart of the Phillips neighborhood on Franklin Avenue.

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.