Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Was an Amazing Year

I must say that 2006 was totally amazing, and nothing that I could have ever predicted. It started out with my family getting ready to leave Egypt. We had been there a few weeks seeing the country from Upper Egypt to Lower Egypt on the Nile for the most part.

The really cool part was teaching my 10-year old son photography on the trip. He made some very, very beautiful photographs that were sensitive and creatively made.

The trip came from my wife Debi, who secretly arranged it as a 50th birthday present for me. Thank you so much, I'll never forget it, especially as a family trip.

So many people tried to talk us out of it due to the political unrest in the middle-east. The Egyptian people were gracious and made us feel at home. I am in awe of their history, beautiful country, and ancient history and art that you see almost everywhere one turns.

Their ancient art does remind me of our own traditional northwest coast art; they're both monumental with a beautiful formline that takes a lifetime to master, and have stories embedded that speak quite eloquently of their history and culture. At any rate, I would strongly advise the trip for anyone interested in experiencing a breathtaking slice of what humanity is capable of producing. It seemed natural that a warrior race had the wherewithal to produce the art, another powerful commonality between our cultures. It seems that it takes might to be able to have a culture with leisure time to dedicate to the arts.

After we came back home, our 2 labradoodles had 13 puppies! Dang. Nobody told us that the longer the mama and daddy doggies were breeding, the more likely it was that they would have more babies.

Holy crap! Debi spent most of the time being a surrogate mama to the babies since Sagebrush (the mama) essentially lost interest in mothering. The babies were hand raised (fed with bottles many times daily and constantly held and played with every day), and therefore were extremely socialized and naturally friendly with both people and other doggies. Our favorite pastime was playing "swarm" with the puppies. You get in the little pen with them and they essentially swarmed you with love and kisses! Labradoodles make smart babies too, which is very cool.

Speaking of playing swarm, I had a swarm of exhibitions and photography awards this year. I was constantly on the road traveling all over creation to talk about my art, which is one of the basic reasons that I make art in the first place. One of the really finest and most humbling parts was meeting the other photographers, artists, curators, museum & gallery directors, arts administrators, and event organizers like the ones from National Geographic All Roads film & photography festival. They were so dedicated to their professions, down to earth, kind, brilliant, and just plain good people. All of them had a genuine spirit of sharing and giving, especially as it relates to getting significant art out to the general public. The list is way too long, but includes people and places such as the C.N. Gorman Museum at UC Davis where Hulleah organized an Indigenous Photographers Conference and brought in photographers from all over the world to talk about photography among ourselves in a closed session and had public panels with an exhibtion.

Here is Theresa Harlan showing prints from the exchange, with the venerable Lee Marmon in the foreground. This was the first exhbition that included a portfolio exchange among indigenous photographers. We each brought a number of prints to share with everyone esle and we each went home with a portfolio of original signed prints by all of the other photographers! Wow! Way to go Hulleah and Veronica.

Some other venues included places such as the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, the University of New Mexico Art Museum with their "Migrations" exhibition & book.

Here I am with the incomparable, one and only Patrick Nagatani, my good freind and mentor, at my art talk in the gallery. The show is going to travel for the next 4 years or so. It is one of the most beautiful and meaningful exhibtions that I've participated in in quite some time. The exhibitions associated with the National Geographic All Roads Photography awards in LA, Washington DC and Santa Fe were breathtaking.

I had a solo exhibition in my hometown of Juneau at the Juneau Douglas Museum that was really wonderfully done and attended. We had almost 300 people attend during a blizzard. Dang. I remember what it was to be from Juneau, and those people don't let anything stop them from having fun! Whew, stand back.

My dad loves this "Kincolith" piece even more than I do, which is very cool!

I was notified that I was to be awarded an Eiteljorg Arts Fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum, which is a really great opportunity to make new art, show, and interact with the other Eiteljorg Fellows.

There were a number of other really great exhibitions too, but more about those later.

In 2006 I wrote chapters for three books, which was fun. I was able to put forth my own unique interpretation of art and culture in the books. I'll publish a few excerpts in future posts.

On the first day of 2006 I told my wife that years that end in 6 (1996, 1986, 1976, etc.) have always been transitional years for me, and the year did turn out to be TRANSITIONAL with a flourish. It inlcuded taking my art and writing to new heights, and the ride was definitely fun, esepcially in Santa Fe at the end of the year. All I can say is that I woke up under the hotel stairs hung over from exotic tequilas with a new cult of the spiral tatoo on my forehead. Don't ask. Happy New year!

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