|Year of the Dragon 2012, monotype, Linda Lomahaftewa|
Santa Fe, NM — Moundbuilders: Exploring the Ancient Southeastern Woodlands, a two-person art exhibit inspired by the journey artists Linda Lomahaftewa (Choctaw-Hopi) and America Meredith (Cherokee Nation) took through the Deep South to explore ancient Native American mound sites, opens with a reception on Friday, May 25, from 6 to 9 p.m. On display will be prints, paintings, photography and mixed media works inspired by the sites, smells and scenery observed on their trip. The exhibit takes place at Ahalenia Studios, known for its edgy, fun and important art exhibits, at 2889 Trades West, Unit E, off of Siler Road (note: street parking only). This event is free and open to the public.
Thanks to the online funding platform Kickstarter, Lomahaftewa and Meredith took a two-week trip in 2011 to visit 15 mounds and other archaeological sites in the southeast, from Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma and to Echota Mounds in Georgia. Both artists were able to visit the Mother Mounds of their respective tribes: NanihWaiya, origin of the Choctaws, in Mississippi and Kituwah, mother mound of the Cherokee, in North Carolina.
Lomahaftewa, an instructor at the Institute of American Indian Arts and artist who has exhibited internationally, says, “It was the trip of a lifetime.” Painter, printmaker and arts educator Meredith concurs, but adds, “It was great to learn how contemporary tribal people maintain such a vibrant and living relationships to these mounds.”
Mounds are colossal earthworks built by hand by Native Americans prior to European contact. They flourished during the Mississippian Era, a time period from 800 to 1400 AD characterized by city-building, hierarchal governments, intensive maize agriculture and a unique iconography that spanned from Oklahoma to Florida. Several of the sites Lomahaftewa and Meredith visited, such as the Poverty Point, date back much further. Poverty Point in Louisiana is a planned community marked by elaborate earthworks dating back to 1650 and 700 BC and predating agriculture.
Moundbuilders: Exploring the Ancient Southeastern Woodlands will be open to the public from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, Sunday, May 27, Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3. From May 28 through June 1 the show will be open by appointment only, which can be arranged by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the exhibit, including a blog from the journey, visit www.ahalenia.com/woodlands