Blendians: images from the pow wow trail

is the name of the show Bigbear and I put up at Tribal Spears Cafe and Gallery in Harlem.

I guess I should have posted about it earlier, but you know me. I get sidetracked. And generally this blog is about my head and heart, rather than what I do for a living. And I kinda wonder about having my blogworld and lifeworld collide though that tends to happen anyway so what the hell.

Here's the invite (I designed it):
...and the show runs through November so if anybody's down in Harlem go by and see it.

Yesterday was the opening reception. Bigbear and I didn't get done hanging the show till about a half-hour before the reception was to start. Talk about work... and then I had to run across town and get my hair washed and try to clean up a little.

We had a small but constant stream of folk pass through; some of my ride or die peeps and two OLD friends from high school (got me all verklempt). The show was so well received it was suggested that Bigbear and I do a closing party, which we've decided to do. This time, I promise to invite my blogfriends.

I put 24 photos up, and Bigbear had 18 pieces. We also included some work of friends of ours from the Dine' (Navajo) whose work is truly spectacular. So far, I sold two and Bigbear one, (the Manygoats sold some jewelry) and both Bigbear and I are in negotiation for more. So that was exciting... but to me, the most gratifying thing was the response.

There was a smattering of "Blendians" we've met on the pow wow trail who showed up, most of them in daily garb but one sister in particular came in her Seminole regalia. I overheard one woman say "I should have come in my regalia" which really made me feel good.

Another sister came up to me and said "Thank you... thank you for doing this" and I almost cried.

I take pictures at the pow wow because I love being there. I don't dance, and I don't wear regalia but I know who I am and I know I belong there. I can't claim a tribe... I trace my ancestry to a few different tribes but none of it is provable in the paper way. And some tribes, particularly the Cherokee, who have decided to only include those folk who can trace their ancestry through a paper trail may not want to claim me. But I know who I am... ironically enough I know some of my people were Cherokee. Whether you claim me or not I know this to be true....

So I take pictures. I plant myself in a corner somewhere, and watch my brothers and sisters and cousins pass by in all their glory, and I try to capture the love and the pride and the hearbeat that I see there. And I was so moved that people saw it, that both Bigbear and I were able to communicate that love and joy.

A good friend and fellow artist emailed Bigbear today, and I quote:

"'s hard enough to make good, honest work in your studio, but to be able to find a way to present it all in a way that unifies it without losing the strength of each piece is so damn hard! ...I thought you totally nailed it! I kept wanting to go back and forth between pieces and I thought the realism of the photos was an important counterbalance to the poetry in your's.'s another way for the viewer to access the creative moment and really share in what you were doing."

It means a lot because it's precisely what we tried to do...

...and it brings me to another thing. My friend, hereinafter referred to as Faca since that's what he calls himself, came to the opening. We've been friends a while now, he and I... and I always say it's very hard for men and women to stay friends cuz there's always that "thing"... and I hope that "that thing" won't ever get in the way of us staying friends cuz I really think he's fabulous.

He and I have been talking about how we can keep each other artistically motivated, since we both suffer from similar issues. It's possible we may be starting a project together that will further the idea of the viewer being able to witness the creative process... and maybe that will encourage them to buy the finished product. Cuz you know, us artists need to eat. Shit's critical out here.

Anyhow, here's some pictures of how it looks. Pretty damn professional, if I do say so myself:

Bigbear (second from left) poses with some friends and Mima (far right)

Tribal Spears is located on Frederick Douglass Blvd (8th Ave to those of us who were there "before") between 116th and 117th Streets in Harlem. Tell Spring (proprietor) the Bear Clan sent ya...


RoadGrl said…
The show looks waay interesting, am bummed that I am not in the area anytime soon...
and congrats on the sales, but more so on the response that you received. As an artist, ultimately you want to know your vision is reaching people, and clearly it is.
look at yawl Bigbear looks great. post more pics pls
BigBear said…
The show looks so good even better in the real. wow. We did it Bear Maiden, I feel like this is a beginning of something, I know i have so many images going round in my head, can't wait to get to some wood or big paper and sew some leather. And finding that we Bear Clan, that's deep, but we so are.

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