Sunday, March 16, 2008


The current show at Ukiah's Grace Hudson Museum, up through April 20, is "SING ME YOUR STORY, DANCE ME HOME," a show of visual art and poetry from Native California. Over 30 current Indian artists are represented in a show that includes 2-d and 3-d art, poetry, baskets, jewelry, and multimedia.

A real highlight for me was discovering the work of Rick Bartow. He is of the Wiyot tribe and his work is deeply involved in the spiritual and symbolic transformations of his culture. His two large pieces in the show, "Predator's Dream" and "Mortal Crow" each feature a crow or raven as a strong presence interacting with and affecting humans. They have the boldness and strength of the best of German Expressionist graphic work.

My web search for more information on Greg Sarris revealed a lot about his career. Apparently he has done a lot of performance readings of his story of the Coast Miwok spiritual leader, but unfortunately I couldn't find the text on-line and it was way to long to copy it down off the wall. Suffice it to say that "When My Great Great Grandfather Tom Smith Caused The 1906 Earthquake" is a delightful tale.

Another descendant of Tom Smith is represented in the show, painter Kathleen Rose Smith. Her watercolors of "Salmon Swimming Upstream" and "Coyote's Roundhouse" (the latter her painted interpretation of a dream of Tom Smith that has been passed down through the generations) are outstanding.

I forgot to note the name of the artist who created an intriguing and successful multimedia piece in which voices of tribespeople play through a modern making of a tribal artifact. Darn. I did remember to write down Kathy Wallace's name; she is a basketmaker in the Hoopa Valley tribe but in this show had three necklaces used in tribal rituals, elaborately beaded works incorporating elements from the Klamath and Trinity Rivers.

On another note: If you were intrigued by my writeup of Huichol art, many of the pieces that were in the Grace Hudson Museum show are currently on exhibit over the hill in Booneville, at the Booneville General Store (also a great place to buy freshly-made on the premises organic baked goods, breakfast and lunch). Julie, the owner, tells me they will probably be up another month. So if you are headed through there on 128 or 253, stop in!

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