‘Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation’

Artist Cannupa Hanska Luger

The 2016-17 theme for the Center for Creativity and the Arts is “Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation.” This year’s theme celebrates the rich artistry of Native peoples of California and North America, as well as the indigenous Mexican diaspora of California’s Central Valley.

juan-felipeIn October, CCA presented “Elotes con Sangre, the Journey Home, Photographs and ‘Neirikas’ (yarn paintings) of the Land of The Wixáritari, First Peoples, the Huichol Nation of Mexico,” featuring photographs from a trip that U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera took 46 years ago. The images and the yarn paintings that he brought back were publicly displayed for the first time ever in an exhibition at the Graduate Art Studios at M Street.

An “Elotes con Sangre” catalog is a companion to the”Elotes con Sangre” exhibition. It was edited by Dr. Cindy Urrutia, director of the Center for Creativity and the Arts., and Herrera.

The catalog consists of a personal essay by Herrera describing his personal journey with the Huichol in 1970, a curatorial essay and project description by Urrutia, a state of the field academic essay on Huichol culture and Nierikas by Dr. Keith Jordan, a short poem by graduate student laureate Jacob J. Hernandez, photographs taken by Juan Felipe Herrera and Lin Romero of Huichol Life, and Nierikas made by Shamans Ramón Medina Silva and Guadalupe Rios de la Cruz (Lupe). Each photograph is accompanied by a short descriptive photo-poem written by Juan Felipe Herrera.

The catalog is available for purchase on Amazon.

zn-postcard-invite-corrected1_page_1In November, Center for Creativity and the Arts and the Department of Art and Design presented the exhibition “Zapantera Negra: Flower of the Word — Zapatista and Black Panther Visual Encounters of Collective Empowerment.” This exhibition highlighted the works of a collective of artists lead by former minister of culture for the Black Panthers, Emory Douglas, and artist and founder of Donde Era la Uno, Caleb Duarte.

“Zapantera Negra” explored these questions: What is the role of revolutionary art for disenfranchised communities? How can art be a vehicle for non-violent resistance, while at the same time conveying clear and strong messages of self-determination and empowerment? 

Several more events are planned during the spring semester.

merrittjohnsonupcomingjanuaryfrontofpostcardIn January, the Department of Art and Design in collaboration with CCA will host an exhibition of Merritt Johnson’s work at the Conley Art Gallery. She is of mixed Kanienkehaka (Mohawk), Blackfoot, Irish and Swedish heritage.

Johnson is a multidisciplinary artist who incorporates performance into her practice in addition to painting, sculpture, and video, according to an article on the National Endowment for the Arts.

Johnson will give a lecture from 3:30-5 p.m. on Jan. 24 in Conley Arts 101. A reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. right after the lecture.

Internationally recognized Lakota artist Cannupa Hanska Luger will be in residency from March 24-April 9. While he is here at Fresno State, Luger will be commissioned to create an outdoor sculpture. He will work with students and make classroom visits during his time in residency. His artwork will be on display at the Graduate Art Studios at M Street from April 3 through 13.

Photo by D’Nelle Garcia/Blue Rain Gallery

Luger, pictured, was born on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, and was involved in recent protests against a proposed oil pipeline. He distributed mirrored shields he created to demonstrators. He hoped that, once the shields are in use, police will see the reflection of their own shared humanity “underneath their uniforms — and realise that they are also on our side,” he said for an article in The Art Newspaper. 

A full listing of the upcoming events can be found on the CCA events page.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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