News Release No. 2 - April 17, 2008

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2008

Contact: Marcia Schneider (415) 557-4252

Sing Me Your Story, Dance Me Home Exhibition celebrates Native Californian art and culture

Sing Me Your Story, Dance Me Home: Art and Poetry from Native California offers all who view it an opportunity to reflect and become more aware of their place within the world. Inspired by both the past and present, Native Californian artists celebrate their cultural heritage with contemporary works of art. Stories, songs and dance take form in poetry, painting, basketry, jewelry, printmaking, photography and sculpture. The exhibition will be on display May 10-June 29 in the Main Library's Jewett Gallery.

The exhibition honors the artists' culture and community while bringing an understanding of California as Native California, an indigenous homeland. The exhibition is organized into four thematic sections:

  • "Living in Song" speaks to a worldview based on the origins of Native knowledge and beliefs. Judith Lowry's Weh-Pom and the Star Sisters triptych print of a large mural is one example that retells a Maidu story of the constellations told to Lowry by her father and carries a father's memories passed to a daughter and now shared with us.
  • "We Embrace Ourselves" reflects self-acceptance and what it means to be Native and carry inherited complexities of cultural collisions from three major weaves of colonization by Spain, Mexico and the United States. Poets in this section include Linda Noel, Sylvia Ross, and others. Artists include Rick Bartow and Frank LaPena.
  • "Feed Our Memories" honors the gifts and lessons shared by family, friends and heroes. It is the memory of those of the past that sustain Native people and communities. In this section, Janice Gould's poem "Three Stories from My Mother" is the memory of a young girl witnessing the passing of her mother and the attempts of her father to save her. Artists in this section include Dal Castro and L. Frank, among others.
  • "Dance our Dreams" honors the love, work and sacrifice of California Native people as they continue to hold onto indigenous knowledge and traditions. The recovery and renewal of language, ceremony and cultural practices heal what has been disrupted. Artists include basketweavers Linda Aguilar and Julia Parker.

The Sing Me Your Story, Dance Me Home: Art and Poetry from Native California exhibition tour is organized by the California Exhibition Resources Alliance (CERA). The exhibition was developed in concert with Heyday Books and is made possible by generous grants from The James Irvine Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, Columbia Foundation, LEF Foundation, the Fleishhacker Foundation, The Clorox Company Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support has been provided by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, call (415) 557-4277.

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