EASTPORT, ME.- The Tides Institute & Museum of Art
will feature a selection of artwork, writing and music created for the Equinox Petroglyph Project: Interpretations by Women and Children on view from September 18 through October 11, 2009. The public is invited to an opening reception on Friday, September 18 from 5:00 7:00 pm at the Institute located at 43 Water Street in downtown Eastport.
Long before the Europeans came to the Americas, Machias Bay was the summer home of the easternmost tribes known today as the Waponahki Nation. Shaman of the tribes pecked images into stone ledges portraying the daily life of hunters and gatherers, and inspiration from the Great Spirit, positioning the carved drawings to be most visible on the days of the autumnal or spring equinox, when the angle of light from the sun reveals their prominence.
Some contend that the Tribes had a matriarchal tradition before European influences were felt. We thought it was an appropriate time to seek out women and children to bring their responses to the stories that are told in stone at the sites on Machias Bay where the petroglyphs can still be seen, said Stephanie Francis, co-curator of the exhibition, and a Passamaquoddy.
The Equinox Petroglyph Project: Interpretations by Women and Children is a response by twenty-two women artists, native and non-native, and over 30 Passamaquoddy children to those ancient images. Featured works include paintings, drawings, printmaking, beadwork, basketry, hand-made drums, photography, wool felting, poetry, essays, short stories, and original musical compositions.
Starting with a conversation two summers ago, it is thrilling to see this impressive collection of over 100 artworks that became the Equinox Petroglyph Project. We hope it will help make many more people aware of the rich Native American history of Downeast Maine, Francis said. Artists, writers and musicians involved with the exhibition from the region and beyond include: Valerie Aponik, Portia Becker, Nan Bennett, Leslie Bowman, Romantha Burow, Hazel Carter, Marie Francis, Stephanie Francis, Gillyin Gatto, Ann Gommers, Carol Hedden, Margaret La Farge, Katie MacGregor, Ellen Nicholas, Ann Pollard, Kathy Pollard, Robin Rier, Elizabeth Spraque, Helen Messemer Thomas, Jude Valentine, and Patricia Vinzani.
The petroglyphs survive todaymany are thought to be over 3,000 years oldbut they are eroding due to rising waters, acid rain and pollution, and vandalism. The Maluhsi-Hikon (pronounced Mul-us-a-he-gun) Petroglyph Foundation, seeks to build an education center that will preserve the peckings, encourage research, and promote education about the petroglyphs and the ancient Passamaquoddy culture. A catalog of the exhibition, embossed prints on handmade sweetgrass paper, posters featuring petroglyph images, and CDs and DVDs of Passamaquoddy music and history are available for purchase online. Proceeds from the sale of commemorative items support the Maluhsi-Hikon Petroglyph Foundation. Visit the Equinox Petroglyph Project on line at www.equinoxpetroglyphproject.org
to learn more.
In addition to the Equinox Petroglyph Project exhibition, a selection of work from the permanent collections focusing on the border regions of the U.S./Canada northeast coast will be on view on the second floor. As part of the Two Countries, One Bay Art Studio on September 19 and 20, the Institute will feature award-winning New Brunswick printmaker, David Umholtz, who will offer printmaking demonstrations.