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Highlighting Native American creativity, culture in Bankhead Gallery

New Bankhead art exhibit opening includes community celebration this weekend

The Bankhead Art Gallery is showcasing works from some of the area's most talented artists of Native American descent now through July.

The new exhibit, entitled "The Artists Among Us: Native People Today," begins its run in downtown Livermore this week and will commemorate its opening with a community reception on Saturday afternoon that aims to be "a true celebration of Native culture," according to Bankhead officials.

"The artists for the exhibit are from the Bay Area and beyond, representing different tribes and all visually representing their life experiences as Native artists," gallery officials said.

As for the community celebration this weekend, "There will be powwow dancers and live musicians on the Bankhead Plaza stage -- colorful and dramatic, the dancers will demonstrate many dances and showcase their regalia," officials said, adding:

"In addition, there will be a tipi maker in front of the Bankhead that will be presenting an educational talk and demonstration on the tradition of tipi building and its close association with the arts and the many aspects behind the customs of creating these artistic dwellings."

The two-month exhibit originated from Livermore Valley Arts representatives working with Mary Puthoff of the Livermore American Indian Center to connect with Native artists whose works represent Native culture in all of its contemporary forms.

The concept centered on bringing to Livermore "an exhibit that tells the story that Native people are here and around us and that most have a keen artistic sense, some creating art in formal manners such as oil on canvas and others incorporating artistic sensibility in their craft and everyday lives," officials said.

Pieces on display include "Stay in Touch" by John Balloue, "Big River Scene" by California Native Glass and "First Contact," an artwork borrowed from the California Indian Heritage Center Foundation created by Alicia Maria Siu, Antonio Moreno, Vicente Moreno and Vicente Teoxiutleko Moreno.

Those works, and others, can be viewed regularly from 1-5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays as well as for ticketed patrons of the Bankhead Theater during performances now through July 31.

The exhibit will also be highlighted this Saturday (June 4) from 1-4 p.m. during a free Native culture celebration presented in conjunction with the Livermore American Indian Center.

East Coast indigenous storyteller Dovie Thomason, known for her stories of the First Nations, will be making an appearance at the event.

"Thomason will paint a picture of her own richly textured family story, and reflect on the value of storytelling in transmitting cultural memory, the importance of how to listen, and the role stories can, and do, play in making sense of the world in which we live," officials said.

They added, "The public is invited to share in this powerful exhibit and opening reception, performance, and activities, to honor the Native peoples on whose land we live."


About the Author: Jeremy Walsh

Jeremy, a Benicia native and American University alum, joined Embarcadero Media in November 2013. After serving as associate editor for the Pleasanton Weekly and, he was promoted to editor of the East Bay Division in February 2017.
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