Spirit matters at Daybreak Star
By Rick Levin
It sounds like an existentialist smorgasbord: cultural heritage, nostalgia, memory,
diversity, spirituality, oppression, hope, isolation, beauty, serenity and integrity.
No, this is not the path of the Buddha but a list of themes explored in the new
exhibit of paintings at Daybreak Star Indian Art Gallery, entitled "Reunion of the
Condor, Eagle and Raven: Three Perspectives on Experience and Hope."
The exhibit, which runs through April 23, brings together three artists working in
a variety of mediums: abstract painter and collage artist Esperanza (Gomez)
Grundy, portraitist Joshua Langstaff and Ben Paul, a photographer and sculptor.
Langstaff is a Chippewa who grew up in a remote corner of Michigan's Upper
Peninsula, in a town of 300 people. "Wildlife here outnumbers people
dramatically," he says of his hometown, where he developed a deep appreciation
for the beauty of his natural surroundings. Langstaff has studied art in New York,
the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, and most recently at the
Seattle Academy of Fine Art. "I hope that I might eventually be considered
among the great artists of my time," he says. "It is perhaps a fantastical dream to
create work of the power and beauty of Rembrandt, Caravaggio or Vermeer, but
it is my dream."
Paul, a Tlingit from Juneau, Alaska, began studying art around the time of his
naming ceremony in 1995 in Seattle (he is a member of the Raven clan, and his
name, goo-nuX-nusti, means "to be the most"). He came across the artwork of
his grandmother, Frances Paul, as well as the Southeast Alaska photo collection
of his father William Paul Jr. He has worked in pen-and-ink and silk-screening,
as well as sculpture.
Grundy, a Mexican-American, is the first Latina artist whose works have
appeared at Daybreak Star. She is a watercolorist.
The opening of the exhibit on Feb. 17 commemorated the 36th anniversary of the
invasion of Fort Lawton led by the late Bernie Whitebear, and also featured a
memorial for Upper Skagit artist Ron Hilbert.
The exhibit is being co-sponsored by El Centro De La Raza and Four Worlds
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