This has been a semester of adventures! The region is fortunate to be home to artistic venues with top-notch curations. The San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries (SFAC Galleries) is a consistent example of excellence. The Continuous Thread delivered an incredible and thoughtful experience for my Academy of Art University students.
According to the venue’s website: “On April 5 and 6, the San Francisco Arts Commission hosted over 150 members of the Bay Area’s Indigenous community to be photographed on top of the empty plinth that, until recently, held the Early Days component of the Pioneer Monument in San Francisco’s Civic Center. The sculpture was removed in September 2018 in response to decades of community objections to its racist and historically inaccurate depiction of Indigenous Peoples. Three photographers, Britt Bradley, Jean Melesaine, and Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie, captured the two-day event turned community celebration and reclamation of the site. The Early Days photo project empowered the local Indigenous community to challenge the way that they are seen in the public realm and was the precursor for the Arts Commission’s Citywide American Indian Initiative…”
Britt Bradley, Jean Melesaine, and Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie documented The Early Days photo project showcasing signature artistic styles. Bradley’s portraits are haunting remnants of our future and past. Melesaine’s imagery captures the community’s heart and soul. The photographs of Tsinhnahjinnie reclaim history through the grace and strength of the human spirit.
From the Hood Museum: “Contemporary Seminole artist Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie’s photographs respond to the perpetuating stereotypes of Native American peoples caused by ubiquitous early Western photography of Native people fixed in a historical past. Looking inward to document moments and thoughts about childhood and family, high school, friends, particular experiences, and dreams, she delivers a deeply moving installation that comprises a strong political statement about Native sovereignty and cultural oppression intermixed with poignant storytelling and personal convictions.”
Prior to visiting, I shared the websites along with statements from each participating artist. Providing context and background is fundamental to a thriving art practice. SFAC Galleries was extremely generous by facilitating a The Continuous Thread tour highlighting its depth and vigor. Thankful to witness greatness!