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Exhibit – Holding up the Sky – honors the Maine’s First Peoples

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At Maine Historical Society in Portland —
April 17, 2019 
By Ramona du Houx
Maine Historical Society’s (MHS)  new exhibition, Holding up the Sky, at their Portland gallery runs from April 12 to February 1, 2020. It honors and explores the experiences of the First People of Maine — the Wabanaki, which includes the Abenaki, Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot people. 
Holding up the Sky explores Wabanaki philosophies of leadership and obligation relating to humans and non-humans by highlighting 13,000 years of Wabanaki residence in what is now known as Maine.
Wabanaki advisors guided the exhibition, interpreting 17th century colonial treaties, photographs, heritage items, and contemporary artworks—everything from ash baskets to haute couture fashion. Wabanaki voices provide context for the present-day relevance and repercussions of 400 years of shared histories between Wabanaki people and immigrants to their region.

“We believe that it is essential to explore, honor, and help all Mainers better understand the 13,000-year experience of the Wabanaki and their strong continued presence in Maine as the state prepares to commemorate its Bicentennial in 2020,” said Steve Bromage, MHS executive director. “Their story and our shared history provide the foundation for understanding Maine statehood, the context for key issues that shape Maine today, and perspective that will help us plan a future that draws on the strength of all Maine people.” 

The exhibition is built around the voices and perspectives of Wabanaki people and is being developed in collaboration with a team of advisors, including:

  • Lisa Brooks (Abenaki),
  • James Francis (Penobscot),
  • Suzanne Greenlaw (Maliseet),
  • Darren Ranco (Penobscot),
  • Theresa Secord (Penobscot),
  • Ashley Smith (Wabanaki descent), and
  • Donald Soctomah (Passamaquoddy).

The exhibit explores Wabanaki philosophies of leadership and obligation and will consider thousands of years of life in “Maine” places prior to the arrival of Europeans, and the complex relationships that have evolved since Europeans settled here.

In addition to items from Maine Historical Society collections and newly commissioned pieces by Wabanaki artists, the exhibition will feature artifacts loaned by many individuals and organizations, including: Abbe Museum, Hudson Museum, Passamaquoddy Cultural Heritage Museum, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Maine State Museum, Nova Scotia Museum, and Bangor Historical Society.

Contest: Writers will be published and exhibited at ME Rockland gallery, Fukurou.

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From Maine Insights article:

The Solon Center for Research and Publishing is pleased to announce a writing contest. It’s our first writing project in conjunction with an exhibit at Gallery Fukurou of 20 Main Street, Rockland, Maine.

3 Samples of photos to write about

There are scores of writers in Maine who have not been afforded an opportunity to be published, yet some of their works are gems. One writer said they don’t have avenues to exhibit as artists do—so they can’t show people their work as readily. The Solon Center is helping to bridge that divide. By publishing their short stories inspired by art photographs new avenues will organically grow for them, as more people read their work.

In August we will host an exhibit of new work from two fine art photographers, Yohaku Yorozuya and Ramona du Houx. The images will depict Rockland and the coast in its myriad situations, moods and emotions. The combination will marry visual arts with the written word, and help Maine’s creative economy flourish.

The challenge for writers will be to choose one photograph and write a story based on the image. The stories and photographs will be published in book that will be sold during the exhibit, on amazon, in the gallery, and worldwide through Ingram.

Bringing the artistic community together with wordsmiths offers exciting unforeseen collaborations. The Solon Center for Research and Publishing will be there to foster new projects that arise from this pilot initiative.

This is a unique new platform for writers and artists in Maine. We hope the images will inspire writers. The photographs to choose from are posted on our website at: http://galleryfukurou.com/writing-contest-at-fukurou-gallery/ .

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The opening night of the exhibit will also be a book signing night celebration with authors.

Every writer published will receive a free book and promotion of their story on our multiple media platforms.

“Be creative. Let the image speak to you. Let it draw you in. If it stirs a memory, great. If it creates and idea, fantastic. Everything will be read,” said Solon Center for Research and Publishing’s Executive Director, Paul Cornell.

Guidelines— 

  • All writers must reside in Maine.
  • You may submit more than one story.
  • Maximum word count of 800 words.
  • Attach your word document, with your name and contact information, or copy and paste your story, in e-mail to duhoux2@tds.net.
  • Electronic submission only.
  • No poetry.
  • Deadline for submissions is May 27, 2019.
  • The exhibit will be in August.
  • All the short stories must be rooted in the photograph the writer selects.

The Solon Center for Research and Publishing is a 501(c)3 nonprofit Maine Public Benefit Corporation that helps build community in Maine and beyond through educational, literary, scientific and artistic means, with publications, research, exhibits, events and other initiatives.

Minter’s ‘Malaga Island of Maine’-Atrocity and empathy

The exhibition at the University of Southern Maine Art Gallery in Gorham explores the infamous removal in 1912 of the inhabitants off the coast of Phippsburg.

Atrocity is others. But not always.

Sometimes art takes on subjects that are bigger than the scope of an individual artist. We see this, for example, in art about the Holocaust. But we know the tragic history, so any given work has a broad enough context for us to balance the individual subjectivity of the artist with the societal and cultural monstrosity they seek to represent.

The subject of Daniel Minter’s “Malaga Island,” now on view at USM’s Gorham campus Art Gallery is an atrocity committed against a group of Mainers in 1912 – the 45 inhabitants of Malaga Island, just off the coast of the Phippsburg peninsula at the mouth of New Meadows River in Casco Bay. Then-Governor Frederick W. Plaisted ordered the removal of the inhabitants from the picturesque island. He separated the children from their parents. (Sound familiar?) Women were sterilized. He sent many of these people off to various institutions, including eight to the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded in Pownal, what is now the campus of Pineland. He took down their school and moved it to another island. He razed their homes. He even dug up their buried dead and moved them away.

The reason: White nationalism. (Again, sound familiar?) The people of Malaga Island were mostly of mixed race and their settlement had been founded by a black American.

It was an atrocity. And it was committed in America by a Maine governor, a man democratically elected under the authority of our state’s constitution.

Minter’s work isn’t driven by the rage I feel when I think about this wrongdoing. Minter’s paintings, assemblages, informational presentations and installation are geared towards humanizing – or should I say re-humanizing – the people of Malaga Island. While his wistfully handsome portraits of people on the island hang on the walls of the gallery, a house-shaped installation sits in the center of the room. On it and within it are traces and tokens of life on the island: pictures of the people, buttons, bones and shards of crockery. Minter also includes shells and bones of animals; the island homes, after all, were wisely built on piles of shells that not only drain well and remain stable, but act as middens that wound up preserving many archeological traces of these people and their lives

Nine of Minter’s 11 paintings are portraits, tall and slender canvases leaning on a ghostly blue palette; blue is the color of night, the saturated highlight of blackness. They are dreamy images of people past and present: Minter seems to have been particularly inspired by the experience of contemporary visitors taking their first steps onto the island, walking in the steps of those who were removed by Governor Plaisted. One remarkable leitmotif is the image of buttons. Among the industry of the island was laundry for the folks on the mainland, and so plenty of buttons were left behind, and Minter even presents a pile of these on a pedestal. Remarkably, he doesn’t put them in a bag or under a vitrine. Their physical presence almost forces a shared physical empathy with the people of Malaga.

This is Minter’s great artistic achievement: empathy. His painting is beautiful and accomplished, particularly his signature white-line designs that add a sense of almost delirious beauty to his canvases, something like doily-shrouded brilliance. But within Minter’s storytelling-informed approach, he relies on subjectivity, personal connection and spirituality. Mere storytelling might be simply about “them,” but Minter makes this about “us.” The mixed-race aspect quietly becomes the crux: It was the original problem, but it is our solution as well. The reason for Plaisted’s action wasn’t merely to target blacks, it was the mixing of the races. It was a time when eugenics drove racism, and that, unfortunately, has been around more recently than most Americans choose to remember: In my lifetime, it has been illegal (i.e., anti-miscegenation laws) for black people to marry white people in more than one-third of American states. And I’m not that old…

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Maine author, Trudy Overlock, expresses her love of nature in book of poetry and art

Trudy Overlock’s poetry is pleasingly simply yet is full of powerful messages. Her observations in nature can make readers want to run outside and look anew at the world around us. Her oil and acrylic paintings are inspiring, direct and beautiful. It’s great book to meditate with.

“It’s such an honor to have a book of my art and poetry published. I never imaged it would happen. This represents my life time,” said Overlock. “I only wish to bring the beauty of the world into others lives. Come by the gallery and see the original paintings and buy a book — I’ll be happy to autograph it.” Read more

SugarWood exhibit in Farmington of Ramona du Houx’s work open!

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New mystical watercolor like photographs at Sugarwood Gallery by Ramona du Houx

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From Daily Bulldog

Starting on Nov. 8 the SugarWood Gallery, of Farmington, will feature new fine art photography of Ramona du Houx. The open house will be held on Sunday, Nov. 25 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Ramona du Houx creates fine art photography that looks like watercolor paintings evoking a sense of wonder. Many have found they relieve stress, as they are relaxing, thought proving and mystical. Her new work will include images of landscapes of Maine’s Western Mountains, fields and flowers created with her technique she first discovered in 1979.

“I’m excited and honored to be showing my work at SugarWood. Many of the new pieces depict the magnificent lands surrounding Farmington,” said Ramona, of Solon. “I try to bring the beauty, magic and mystery of nature to viewers by amplifying nature’s essence. I translate what I feel when I’m outside, merged within nature’s embrace, through my art work, thereby bringing the energy and peace of the natural world into the lives of folks who view my images.”

Ramona du Houx is currently represented by Fukurou Gallery, 20 Main Street, Rockland Maine, owned by the Solon Center for Research and Publishing, and is represented by Gallery Storks of Tokyo, Japan.

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SugarWood Gallery is located at 248 Broadway in Farmington and is open Monday thru Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Du Houx uses the camera with a painter’s eye. Her technique uses movement to create a sense of wonder through colors, textures, memories, energy and the seasons. Everything within the viewfinder becomes visibly interconnected when objects merge with the motion of the camera as the image, the “lightgraph,” is taken.

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Professor Pasztory launches book— Exile Space: Encountering Ancient and Modern America in Memoir, Essay, and Fiction

From Maine Insights Newsmagazine: Former Deer Isle Professor Pasztory launches book— Exile Space: Encountering Ancient and Modern America in Memoir, Essay, and Fiction

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Because of her groundbreaking research book now being considered for Pulitzer By Ramona du Houx

Professor Esther Pasztory has written a new book, Exile Space: Encountering Ancient and Modern America in Memoir, Essay, and Fiction. This is her 14th book, and her most personal. It comes at a time when PBS is doing a series on Native Americans and tells more about these fascinating cultures that lived in harmony with nature.

Pasztory is an art historian, specializing in Teotihuacan, Aztec, and Art Theory, as well as being a writer. She is a Lisa and Bernard Selz Professor Emerita of Pre-Columbian Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.

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Pasztory Books published by Polar Bear & Company

Exile Space: Encountering Ancient and Modern America in Memoir, Essay, and Fiction is published by Polar Bear & Company, of Maine, an imprint of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing.

“We’ve submitted the book for consideration for a Pulitzer because Esther Pasztory’s body of work has been groundbreaking in her field,” said Paul Cornell du Houx, Executive Director of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing. “She continues to shine a light on the Ancient American civilizations, changing academic preconceptions.”

Pasztory has published extensively in the field of pre-Columbian art, including the first art historical manuscripts on Teotihuacan and the Aztecs.

“I became interested in this field when I was taking an anthropology class at Barnard and we were told to write on some piece of primitive art and sent to some galleries. So when I went to graduate school, I decided to study “primitive” art. That consisted of all of Africa, all of Oceania from New Guinea to Easter Islands, all of North American Indian and the Amazon region of South America as well as pre-Columbian art which was kind of attached to primitive which included Mexico, Guatemala, Central America and the Andean regions. In fact this area was ¾ of the world that we studied. And it was all material that was unknown to most people,” said Pasztory.

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Mystical photographs at Sugarwood Gallery by Ramona du Houx

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Mystical watercolor like photographs at Sugarwood Gallery by Ramona du Houx

From the Daily Bulldog in Farmington:30faa9c364a568ad-ScreenShot2018-10-27at103441AM
Ramona du Houx creates fine art photography that looks like watercolor paintings evoking a sense of wonder. Many have found they relieve stress, as they are relaxing, thought proving and mystical.Her new work will include images of landscapes of Maine’s Western Mountains, fields and flowers created with her technique she first discovered in 1979.FARMINGTON – Starting on Nov. 8 the SugarWood Gallery, of Farmington, will feature new fine art photography of Ramona du Houx. The open house will be held on Nov. 25 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

9d4aa6d4ad2ed7ca-ScreenShot2018-10-27at103412AM“I’m excited and honored to be showing my work at SugarWood. Many of the new pieces depict the magnificent lands surrounding Farmington,” said Ramona, of Solon. “I try to bring the beauty, magic and mystery of nature to viewers by amplifying nature’s essence. I translate what I feel when I’m outside, merged within nature’s embrace, through my art work, thereby bringing the energy and peace of the natural world into the lives of folks who view my images.”

Ramona du Houx is currently represented by Fukurou Gallery, 20 Main Street, Rockland Maine, owned by the Solon Center for Research and Publishing. She’s also represented by Gallery Storks of Tokyo, Japan.

She uses the camera with a painter’s eye. Her technique uses movement to create a sense of wonder through colors, textures, memories, energy and the seasons. Everything within the viewfinder becomes visibly interconnected when objects merge with the motion of the camera as the image, the “lightgraph,” is taken.

bfe9f728f3c8cf75-ScreenShot2018-10-27at103432AM“Many Native American’s believed that everything is interconnected. I try and depict the energy and emotion that makes those connections tangible. But the technique can be challenging, as I never know exactly what the results will be,” said Ramona.

“Scientists, innovators, and inventors throughout history took the time to observe the connective rhythms in nature. Ben Franklin’s electrical experiment depended upon his observation of those connections. Aerodynamic technologies that make cars, planes and athletes faster have relied upon recording those rhymes. But the innovators of tomorrow may be in jeopardy for now society plugs us into the Internet, and while that can open doors, sometimes too much of being Internet-connected disconnects us from the mysteries of the natural world — that can be transformational.”

5490b13363599efc-ScreenShot2018-10-11at93531AMBy the time Ramona was 12 she couldn’t be seen without a camera. By 18 she was teaching photography and industrial design at Collegio San Antonio Abad in Puerto Rico.

During college she worked with three New York City photographers. In 1979 she landed jobs to take political photographs of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and President Jimmy Carter. The same year she discovered her “lightgraph” technique and held her first exhibit in Huntington, Long Island. Excited by the new way of expressing herself she took her “lightgraph” images to the Museum of Modern Art, where they were put on file.

The Zen nature of her work became obvious to Ramona so she continued her studies in art, and philosophy in Kyoto, Japan while teaching. Her travels in the East led to numerous exhibits in Japan and lifelong connections.

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In England and Ireland, she explored the mythology of the region, while raising three children, ghost writing a novel, and forever taking photographs. After returning stateside to Maine, she started a publishing company, Polar Bear & Company, with her husband and was hired as a consultant by a local artist. During this time she also explored more about the mysteries of motion in her lightgraph technique, worked for newspapers and wrote a children’s novel. By 1998 she was given access to a color darkroom at the Lewiston Creative Photographic Art Center to print a backlog of work in exchange for advising the Center’s photography students.

In 2005 Ramona started a newsmagazine, Maine Insights, which continues to this day. She worked as a photographer for the 2008 DNC convention in Denver, Colorado, and photographed President Barack Obama’s second Inauguration in 2012.

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For the past three years she’s been consulting, writing, exhibiting, organizing and always taking photographs. Recently she organized the Elected Officials to Protect America’s Lands, a group comprised of veterans who are also lawmakers, to send a letter to Sec. Zinke requesting he support the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The LWCF supports millions of dollars of projects, in every county in Maine and in every state, for the upkeep of our parks. As the47d17500a0d3011a-ScreenShot2018-10-27at103421AMorganizer/photographer she traveled with the EOPA delegation to Washington, D.C. where they made their case to seven US Senators.

“The Senators and their staff were incredibly supportive of our mission, wanting to protect our public lands,” said Ramona. “I see my political work as an extension of my art work. I’m passionate about protecting our public lands, without them we loose sight of who we are as a people.”

SugarWood Gallery is located at 248 Broadway in Farmington and is open Monday thru Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ramona du Houx’s intro exhibit to Fukurou Gallery of Rockland, Maine Featured