Our Safety, Our Sovereignty Art Exhibit travels to five more locations in Northern California

The “Our Safety Our Sovereignty” show, featuring a number of Native artists and curated by Corine and held at the Art Center Ukiah/Corner Gallery in November 2022, will be traveling to Middletown Arts Center in April-June 2023.

The show moves back to Mendocino County to appear at the Willits Arts Center in July 2023 before moving to the Pacific International Quilt Show in Santa Clara in mid-October 2023, the Sebastapol Center for the Arts in late October 2023 and then to the Healdsburg Center for the Arts in November 2023.

(The following article is copied from the Arts Mendocino website, a local organization which honored Corine last year. (The piece was also published in the Ukiah Daily Journal) )

Community Artists at Art Center Ukiah, Our Safety, Our Sovereignty

Article by Laura Fogg

Celebration is a word that encompasses the mood of the November show at Art Center Ukiah. Indigenous people from five counties have spent most of this past year coming together, telling their stories and using the medium of textile art to capture evocative images that they can share with others. The result is a collection of art that sings with color, pride and symbolism.

“Our Safety, Our Sovereignty” is the title chosen by the artists. Safety because of the horrible number of missing and murdered indigenous people in our northcoast area and the resulting level of grief and fear that never goes away. Sovereignty because Native people are actively reclaiming their stolen culture, land and languages after generations of being invisible. 

Some of the artists chose to depict missing and murdered individuals, while others created art quilts that feature an aspect of their own culture and history that they wanted to celebrate. Others focused on creating quilt squares that represent words from the Pomo and Kashaya languages. These squares were then pieced together to create two larger quilts, one for each language. The Wellness Center on the Pinoleville Rancheria has been the epicenter of most of the art activity since the beginning of this year. People from twelve tribes have been meeting regularly in the large and welcoming room full of fabric, scissors and cutting mats spread out on huge tables. Inspired by their tradition of coming together to sew ceremonial regalia, the artists shared ideas and supported each other as their projects developed. 

One of the artists, Eloisa Oropeza, described the dynamic…”We all put our love and suggestions and praises into everyone’s work. Each individual piece really belongs to all of us, and I love that.” Corine Pearce, a noted basket maker and teacher from the Little River band of Pomo Indians Redwood Valley, is the primary person who made the sewing gatherings happen. She reached out to the participants, purchased materials and showed up monthly… and then weekly… as the end of the project neared. After letting a tired sigh escape she smiled and admitted that she is very excited to see the whole project come together. “I made three individual quilts plus five language squares,” she said after a moment of mental calculating. “I have never done any quilting or fabric art before… I don’t even sew skirts! I’m excited to do more sewing and even more excited about my community’s response to this project. People have told me that they want to do more of this kind of storytelling through art quilts. A couple of tribes have asked if the quilting group would come to share the process with them.”As part of this project, Corine also created a quilt to honor her murdered relative Nono. In her words “It was really healing to do Nono’s quilt… the anniversary of his death is coming up this month and I was never able to get closure since he had a closed casket funeral. Recreating the image of his face has helped me find the closure that I needed.” 

Quilted artwork by Melody Williams

The list of people who worked on the project is long. They are Monique Sonoquie (Tongva and Chumash), Tanya Ruiz (Little River band of Pomo Indians Redwood Valley), Danger Brown (Cloverdale Rancheria), Melody Williams (Sherwood Valley Rancheria), Martina Morgan (Kashaya), Khaymeyanam Morgan (Kashaya), Corine Pearce (Little River band of Pomo Indians Redwood Valley), Meyo Maruffo (Robinson Rancheria), Jennifer Faber (Cloverdale Rancheria), Eloisa Oropeza (Kashia Pomo), Taylor Pennewell (Berry Creek Rancheria), Nicole Whipple (Round Valley), Trelasa Baratta (Middletown Rancheria), Sarah Franklin (Scotts Valley Rancheria), Patricia Franklin (Scotts Valley Rancheria), and Gabe Ray (Scotts Valley Rancheria).

In addition to the people who participated in the art quilting project, there are numerous other artists contributing to the show in other mediums. They are Bonnie Lockhart (Sherwood Valley Rancheria), Eric Wilder (Kashia), Jewlina Acosta (Yokayo Rancheria), Jacqueline Graumann (Little River Band of Pomo Indians Redwood Valley, Wanda Quitiquit (Robinson Rancheria), Kilak Malicay (Robinson Rancheria), Crystal Pagal (Round Valley), Tara Martinez (Little River band of Pomo Indians Redwood Valley). (full article in Ukiah Daily Journal, November 2nd. 2022.)

Exhibit runs November 4th – November 29th, 2022  201 South State Street Ukiah

Pomo Weavers Society-Corner Gallery front windows November 2022

Article by Laura Fogg

November is Native American Cultural Awareness Month, which is the perfect time for the Corner Gallery to feature the Pomo Weavers Society in their front windows. Silver Galleto, the founding member of the group, was very excited to have this opportunity for outreach with the public. He wanted to let people know that Pomo weavers are active and trying to reestablish many of their traditions, especially basket making, that haven’t been fully practiced for decades.

The show featured a wide variety of contemporary baskets made by Pomo artists from three counties: Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma. In addition, there will be other woven items such as a dowry bag, and photos of both the gathering process and PWS members who are restoring this part of their rich heritage.

Artists participating in the show: Robin Meely, Martina Morgan, Melody Williams, Katie Williams Elliott, Meyo Maruffo, Patricia Franklin, Buffie Schmidt, Silver Galleto and Corine Pearce. The First Friday opening celebration was on November 4 from 5-8pm at the Corner Gallery, 201 S State St in Ukiah. Live flute music was performed throughout the evening.

Published by jmpfeiffer


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