‘Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation’ events celebrate artistry

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  • Center for Creativity

‘Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation’ events celebrate artistry

The Center for Creativity and the Arts at Fresno State will host several community events related to the 2016-2017 arts programming theme, “Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation.” This year’s theme celebrates the artistry of Native peoples of California and North America, as well as the indigenous Mexican diaspora of California’s Central Valley.

The events are planned to create conversations that highlight aspects of Native peoples’ artistic traditions and contemporary outlooks. The goal is to inspire a desire to learn more about Native peoples’ arts and show the beauty, fluidity and richness of the arts.

“Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation” is timely and important because there is a renaissance occurring around contemporary Native arts, said Cindy Urrutia, director of the Center for Creativity and the Arts. Many of today’s Native artists are challenging old stereotypes, cultural appropriation and ascribed popular notions of what constitutes Native arts. While Native peoples are influenced by history and traditions, they also have a global perspective and are part of an international forum on hybridity, cultural diversity and creativity. That is the message nationally and internationally recognized visiting artists will bring to Fresno State.

Merritt Johnson (Mohawk and Blackfoot tribes) and Cannupa Hanska Luger (Lakota tribe) will be in residence at Fresno State during the spring 2017 semester.

In addition to hosting renowned artists at Fresno State, the Center for Creativity and the Arts will spotlight local arts and artists throughout the academic year. Highlights include Jaime Boley (Choctaw tribe), who will curate and lead “The Shawl Project” on women learning the artistry of making shawls to be worn to pow wows; and U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s upcoming exhibitionElotes con Sangre, the Journey Home, Photographs and ‘Nierikas’ (yarn paintings) of the Land of the Wixáritari, First Peoples, the Huichol Nation of Mexico. 1970.” For Herrera, and many members of Mexico’s indigenous diaspora residing in California’s Central Valley, “Elotes con Sangre” is more than an exhibition, it is personal dialogue on self-reflection and identity — American, Mexican and Indian.

“Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation” programming highlights include:

  • “Native Voices: Native Peoples Concept of Health and Illness,” sponsored by the Henry Madden Library 19 through Oct. 23.
  • S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s exhibition, “Elotes con Sangre, the Journey Home, Photographs and ‘Neirikas’ (yarn paintings) of the Land of the Wixáritari, First Peoples, the Huichol Nation of Mexico. 1970,” Oct. 6 through 21 at M Street Arts Complex Graduate Art Studios.
  • Lecture by Dr. Debbie Reese, creator of the blog “American Indians in Children’s Literature,” sponsored by the Arne Nixon Center on Oct. 13.
  • Merritt Johnson (Mohawk and Blackfoot) Exhibition, sponsored by the Department of Art and Design in the Conley Art Gallery Jan. 16 through 27.
  • Local Tribal Language and Story Night in collaboration with the Owens Valley Career Development Center of Central Valley in late February.
  • The Shawl Project — women learning the artistry of shawl making to be worn at pow wows, with guest curator Jamie Boley (Choctaw) from February through April.
  • Center for Creativity and the Arts will commission nationally and internationally recognized artist Cannupa Hanska Luger (Lakota) to create an outdoor sculpture March 27 through April 9.

View more information and a full list of events.