The University of Maine at Presque Isle's Reed Fine Art Gallery will exhibit Crooked Knife: A Northern Tradition from Oct. 21 through Nov. 23, 2013. The public is invited to view the exhibition throughout the show's run. A reception will be held in conjunction with Presque Isle's First Friday Art Walk on Friday, Nov. 1 from 5-7 p.m. with a gallery talk at 5:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
Crooked Knife: A Northern Tradition is a unique exhibition exploring the traditional Maliseet and Mi'kmaq art of basket making from northern Maine and adjacent Canada.
It will showcase tools, artifacts, and traditional pieces created by the hands of talented native artisans. Drawing on the knowledge and experience of local tribe members, Terry Perley and Roldena Sanipass, Crooked Knife: A Northern Tradition peels back the layers and allows the viewers to connect with the rich history that resides within their communities.
Traditional Mi'kmaq and Maliseet basket making begins with the harvesting of ash, sweet grass, plants for natural dyes, and even porcupine quills. Both craft and art, Native baskets can be sturdy and utilitarian or intricate and decorative. This exhibition will provide a glimpse into that process, providing viewers with a deeper understanding of the ancient art form.
Sanipass said, "I am always honored to be able to represent a part of my culture and my heritage, for which it is a huge part of who I am today. I can see myself through my tribe's craftsmanship, as if they were actual mirrors reflecting my past, giving me a sense of pride." Sanipass is a member of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs and was raised in Aroostook County. She is a mother of four and has two grandsons.
"I would like to keep the tradition alive and give an insight to non-natives on how important it is to be culturally diverse," said Perley, a Maliseet native. He was born on the Tobique reserve at Negootgok First Nation.
Dave Putnam, archaeologist and UMPI faculty member, said, "Unlike western art, where spirituality and artistic expression are long de-coupled, Mi'kmaq and Maliseet artists exhibit work that represents an indivisible wholeness of the natural and spiritual realms."
Free and open to the public, Crooked Knife will be on display from October 12 through November 23, 2013 in the Reed Gallery. The exhibit will also be included in Presque Isle's First Friday Art Walks on November 1 from 5-7 p.m. Crooked Knife is curated by Rowena Forbes with Terry Perley and Roldena Sanipass, and assisted by Dave Putnam.