The Montclair Art Museum organizes an Indigenous Peoples Weekend


By Carolyn M. Brown,

originally published: 09/22/2022

Above: Jeremy Dennis (top, photo by Simon Howell), Brent Michael Davids (photo by Frank Schramm/Montclair Art Museum), Laura Ortman (photo by Frank Schramm/Montclair Art Museum) and Caroline Monnet, “No One Spoke of Extinction,” 2021, vinyl print (photo courtesy of the artist).

The Montclair Art Museum (MAM) will honor the art and contributions of Indigenous peoples with a series of workshops, performances and artistic activities with an Indigenous peoples weekend from October 7-10. The Lenape are the indigenous people of New Jersey and MAM invites adults, children and families across the state to join them in recognizing Native American history and heritage here in Lenapehoking (homelands of the Lenape).

On Saturday, October 8 from 3-5 p.m., people can bring a camera, smartphone or tablet and join artist Jeremy Dennis for a photo walk. Dennis will present a new exhibition of his photographs in the main lobby of the MAM, give an overview of his work as an artist and talk about his journey as a member of the Shinnecock Nation in Southampton, New York. He will lead a group walk to neighborhood locations where participants can observe, take photos and engage in lively discussions.

“A lot of the work I do as an artist and photographer tries to broaden the understanding of our history while allowing for a better representation of who we are as Indigenous people,” says Dennis, who notes that he There are approximately 13 native tribes on East Long Island. “I think in the Northeast, in particular, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about which Indigenous people aren’t here anymore or who are Métis. Photography is a very powerful medium because it allows you to show proof of who we are with storytelling and many other amazing things.

On Sunday, October 9 from 1-4 p.m., Dennis will lead a Sunday Studio family event where kids can create paper collages based on Native American creation stories. Indigenous Peoples Day is a national holiday celebrated this year on the second Monday in October — October 10. “Indigenous Peoples Day is really about trying to fill the gaps in understanding and education around Indigenous peoples,” says Dennis. “But we really want to have more than one day in a month of appreciation. We want it to be year-round, continuous understanding and learning. week are a “good start” – a “taste” of a segment of Aboriginal culture.

The Montclair Art Museum organizes an Indigenous Peoples Weekend

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Caroline Monnet and Laura Ortman (photo by Frank Schramm/Montclair Art Museum)

“From My Home to Yours” is a video, sound, and print installation that is described as transforming MAM’s Rand Gallery into “an immersive, resonant space to pause and reflect on home, long-distance connection, and the places in between. “. Longtime friends and collaborators, Montreal filmmaker Caroline Monnet of the Anishinaabe of the Great Lakes region of Canada and Brooklyn-based violinist Laura Ortman of the White Mountain Apache in Arizona traded images and compositions for miles. The resulting layers of sensory collages extracted natural forms and Super-8 films from Monnet’s mother’s community, Kitigan Zibi, Quebec, with Ortman’s local outdoor and indoor field recordings and experimental violin . “From My Home to Yours” is curated by MAM’s Curator of Native American Art, Laura J. Allen, in collaboration with the artists.

In conjunction with MAM’s immersive installation “From My Home to Yours,” acclaimed concert and film composer Brent Michael Davids presents an evening of live chamber music, film, and conversation about Indigenous lands titled ” Brent Michael Davids: The House in Lenapehoking” on Monday, October 10 from 5-7 p.m. Davids is highly regarded internationally as a composer and music warrior for Indigenous equity and parity, particularly in concert music where there is little native influence. A descendant of local Indigenous people who were driven west from their lands and waters, Davids is a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians and co-director of the Lenape Center in Manhattan.

A highlight of the evening will be Davids’ composition ‘The Last of James Fenimore Cooper’, a humorous satire that turns the tables. The Last of the Mohicans, the famous 19th century romantic novel that has also been adapted for the cinema. James Fenimore Cooper is the author of the book. Guided by Davids’ narration, the piece will be performed by a string quintet consisting of the Kodak Quartet of New York and Ryan Chamberlain of Montclair State University on bass.

The Montclair Art Museum organizes an Indigenous Peoples Weekend

Caroline Monnet, “No One Spoke of Extinction”, 2021, vinyl print (photo courtesy of the artist).

The musical performance of the evening is organized by Betsy Theobald Richards, citizen of the Cherokee Nation. “Davids is very committed as someone who is really trying to bring Lenape, both heritage and living culture, back to their home country and have a presence,” says Richards. Thinking about the ideas of home that are raised in the “From My Home to Yours” exhibit, Richards says it’s vital that the traditional homelands (New Jersey, New York, Delaware) of Lenape people are recognized. .

MAM has an extensive collection of Native American art, over 4,000 works spanning a period from ca. 1200 CE to present. Although the organization had always been at the forefront in this area for many years, there were no Indigenous people on staff, says Richards. In 2020, the Native American Art Advisory Council, which included natives, was formed.

What came out of this venture was a real priority for MAM to not only start a national conversation about Native Americans, says Richards, but to really connect with the tribes that are found in New Jersey as well as the Native community. of the New York metropolitan area. . “So it’s not just that (MAM) does Indigenous stuff, but we really want to involve Indigenous people as audience members.”

“From My House to Yours” is made possible by the generous support of the Lyn and Glenn Reiter Endowed Special Exhibition Fund, Patti and Jimmy Elliott, Tracy Higgins and James Leitner, and Margo and Frank Walter. All MAM programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Carol and Terry Wall/The Vance Wall Foundation, Partners for Health Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Museum members.

To learn more about Indigenous Peoples Weekend events at MAM, visit the MAM website. Follow MAM on Facebook and Instagram.

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About the Author: Carolyn M. Brown is an investigative journalist, editor, author, playwright, media content producer and entrepreneur. She has produced content spanning a portfolio of platforms including print, digital media, broadcast, theater arts and custom events. Her publishing credits include Essence, Forbes, Inc. and Diversity Woman magazines. She is a founding board member of the Paterson Performing Arts Development Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together diverse communities through performing arts and cultural events and creating pathways for new and emerging performers. established.

Content provided by Discover Jersey Artsa project of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

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