First American Art Magazine No. 21, Winter 2018/19 - Page 19

SEVEN DIRECTIONS rare” sacred/sensitive objects, particularly if the objects were customarily burned or buried with the original owner. The Met is the largest art museum in the United States and will be hosting this exhibition for a year. That’s exposure of exqui- site Native artifacts to a possible audience of over seven million people. I believe the material culture of any community is the gentlest possible introduction to those ignorant of that culture; however, I wonder if this effort is too gentle. The public will learn about Native culture by viewing this exhibition, but they need to simultaneously learn that our contemporary artists are carrying on the practices on display in this exhibition. The Met’s audience needs to learn that our artists are creating some of the most poignant and deeply layered art anywhere in the world. SOUTH: Please join me in sharing a moment of silence to mourn the loss of the Museu Nacional (National Museum) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.… On the evening of September 2, 2018, a fire began on the roof of the National Museum of Brazil. As the flames quickly spread throughout the museum, curators and staff ran into the burning building to rescue specimens of plants, fossils, artifacts, anything they could grab. When the firefighters arrived, there was no water in the nearest fire hydrants, the by-product of an infrastructure in crisis for several decades. The entire museum was gutted. Twenty million items burned. Losing a whole museum to a fire is already heartbreaking. What makes it absolutely devastating is the loss of extremely rare recordings of Indigenous languages—languages that have no known speakers and recordings of which were the only known copies. Also lost to the fire were ancient artifacts created long before any Europeans set foot on the shores of what is now known as Brazil. The tragedy of the Museu Nacional serves as a cautionary tale, especially for tribal museums and cultural centers focused on language work and the awakening of dormant artistic techniques. Back-up servers and off-site storage is not sexy on any grant application or budget justifi- cation; however, they are needed more than ever. Tribes using the tools of cloud storage and file sharing should be the ones to teach sister institutions to ensure that back-ups and duplicate copies are available somewhere, anywhere, to help prevent future losses of this magnitude. WEST: On October 13, 2018, the Evergreen State College (ESC) hosted the International Opening and Naming Ceremony for its recently completed Fiber Arts Studio. The Fiber Arts Studio is named Paimārire, a Māori term akin to the notion of serenity, and was designed by Māori master carver Lyonel Grant. The ESC is fast securing its role as a major hub for Indigenous expression, as the college has established an Indigenous Arts Campus that includes a longhouse, a carving shed, and now a fiber arts studio. The longhouse staff has created an artistic network along the Pacific Rim and has hosted Indigenous Artist Gatherings pairing master artists with up-and-coming artists in the areas of carving, jewelry, printmaking, fiber arts, painting, ceramics, and glass blowing/sculpture. Paimārire is now the home to the Weavers Across the Waters collaborative robe, the brainchild of late Chilkat master weaver Clarissa Rizal (Tlingit, 1957–2016) comprised of 40 five-by-five-inch squares of Chilkat or Ravenstail weavings. When the Weavers Across the Waters robe was envisioned, the goal was that the “granny square” robe would live at the Fiber Arts Studio as a magnificent example of collaboration, Indigenous imagination, and stunning study in Chilkat and Ravenstail design and construction, and would be left Fire at the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, on September 2, 2018. Photo: Felipe Milanez (CC BY-SA 4.0). above Naming ceremony at Paimārire, the Evergreen Longhouse Fiber Arts Studio. Image courtesy of the author. opposite, top Miranda Belarde-Lewis, PhD (Zuni-Tlingit). Image courtesy of the author. opposite, bottom Installation view of The Art of Native America: The Charles and Valeria Diker Collection. left: Unknown Tlingit artist, Chilkat Tunic and Leggings, ca. 1890, mountain sheep wool, cedar bark, dye. right: Unknown Wasco artist, Dress, Belt, and Awl Case, ca. 1870 both artworks collection of Charles and Valerie Diker. Image courtesy of the author. WINTER 2018/19 | 17