Friday, April 22, 2011

This is Displacement: Where it began...

Emily and I met as co-workers at a very quaint and charming Native-owned, independent bookstore in Minneapolis called Birchbark Books. We quickly became friends and took an interest in each other's work. Back in 2009, she told me about her dance performance, The Thank-you Bar and her idea to put together an art exhibit as a companion piece to her performance's premiere at Out North Contemporary Art House of Anchorage in October 2009. We did fundraising that spring, but since we had such a limited amount of time to develop the exhibit and to look for funds, the original THIS IS DISPLACEMENT reflected that. It was quite small, but it had a big impact. The audience appreciated the experience of getting to view an art exhibit before being led into a theater to watch the performance. Most people seemed genuinely interested, some people said that they've never seen anything like it, and one person even said that it was the greatest art exhibit he had ever seen. At some point, other venues that were presenting The Thank-you Bar also became interested in the exhibit. All the encouragement and enthusiasm seemed to be prompting us to put the show on the road. Of course, that is what we decided to do, but first we thought is was important to expand the exhibit. We did another call for artists, and we also added a film program. At those venues that have the capacity, we are able to show THIS IS DISPLACEMENT as originally intended: in conjunction with The Thank-you Bar. In addition, we found places to show the exhibit independently.

At some point throughout this process, we became enthralled with the idea of a THIS IS DISPLACEMENT exhibit catalog. We really felt that it was important to have some sort of lasting memento of this amazing exhibit, not only for our own satisfaction, but for the benefit of those who never got to see the exhibit or for those people who love the exhibit so much that they'd like to be able to see it any time they want. Aside from the catalog's role to document and reflect upon the exhibit, the catalog has an additional element: it will also have a multi-lingual text as next to most artists' statements, there will be a translation into their Native languages. By doing so, we are encouraging the use of these languages and their revitalization. We are also redressing the effects of colonization, which displaced many Native American peoples from their cultures and languages. We are currently in the process of creating a color catalog that will include images of the artwork, film stills, a statement from each artist, and additional writing, which will be released in June 2011. Please visit us at our websites to learn more and

Carolyn Lee Anderson

(above pic is Carolyn Lee

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