Equinox Petroglyph Project Traveling Art Exhibit Debuts at UMM on June 20
Machias – The University of Maine at Machias’ Art Galleries will showcase a new exhibition that celebrates the Passamaquoddy petroglyphs of Washington County between June 20 and July 18.
Called The Equinox Petroglyph Project: Interpretations by Women and Children Art Exhibition, the show features works by 22 women artists, native and non-native, and by more than 30 Passamaquoddy children.
An opening reception, including a Passamaquoddy welcoming ceremony and live music, takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 20
The exhibit’s interpretive works include paintings, drawings, printmaking, beadwork, basketry, handmade drums, photography, wool felting, poetry, essays, short stories and original musical compositions. The children who contributed art are 5th- through 8th-graders who attend school at both the Pleasant Point and Indian Township reservations.
“Starting with a mere idea expressed in conversation last summer, it is thrilling to see the impressive collection of more than 100 artworks that have been created through the Equinox Project,” said Stephanie Francis, a Passamaquoddy who is the curator and originator of the project. “This exhibition is the result of that effort. It’s our hope that many more people will become aware of the rich Native American history of Downeast Maine.
“Some contend that the tribes had a matriarchal tradition before European influences were felt,” Francis continued. “We thought it was an appropriate time to seek out women and children to bring their perceptions and impressions of the stories that have been told in stone.”
Long before the Europeans ever came to the Americas, Machias Bay was the summer home of the easternmost tribes of what is known today as the Algonquin Nation. Shaman of the Tribes pecked images into stone ledges portraying the daily life of hunters and gatherers and inspiration from the Great Spirit.
These petroglyphs, many thought to be over 3,000 years old, still survive today, but are eroding due to rising waters, acid rain and pollution. A nonprofit organization, the Maluhsi-Hikon Petroglyph Foundation, was formed to preserve, research and further educate about the petroglyphs and ancient Passamaquoddy culture.
The Foundation, the sponsor of the exhibition, is raising funds to build a public educational center to facilitate further study of the petroglyphs and the Passamaquoddy culture.
The exhibition will travel throughout Maine, the northeast and other parts of the United States over three years. After a one-month show at UMM, the exhibition will shift to the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor from August 22, 2008 through January 3, 2009. There will be a formal Autumnal Equinox opening on September 21, 2008 at the Abbe Museum. From September 18th through October 11th, 2009, the exhibition can be seen at the Tides Institute in Eastport, Maine. Other venues will be announced as they are secured.
To learn more about the project, please visit the exhibition website at www.equinoxpetroglyphproject.org. A catalog of the exhibition, embossed prints on handmade sweetgrass paper, posters featuring petroglyph images, as well as CDs and DVDs of Passamaquoddy music and history may be purchased either online or at the exhibition openings.
All proceeds from the sale of commemorative items or tax-exempt donations support the Maluhs-Hikon Petroglyph Foundation, P.O. Box 365, Machias, ME 04654. For any information regarding the exhibition please contact, Stephanie Francis at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (207) 858-3005.