Friday, November 03, 2006

Trip to Anchorage

I went back to Anchorage to collect my show "Transmission Point"---with 2 paintings sold! Yay! While there, I went to a thrift store and found these wedding dresses hanging in a window, backlit by the winter light reflecting from the snow outside. I'm re-training myself to grab my camera whenever the urge strikes me, regardless of place or time or circumstances. If I see a good shot, I need to get that good shot.

While in Anchorage we saw our friend Dena performing with her Yup'ik dance group at the Anchorage Museum. Theirs was, by far, the most dynamic performance. When I see this kind of dancing, I so wish I could do it. It's mesmerizing and powerful---and the drumming and singing just call to me. When I see and hear this kind of dancing, I feel like I'm in the presence of greatness. I'm not native---I'm white, and I feel that I've really missed out on something in not having a connecting to an art like this. We also saw Tligit-Haida dancers that night, but they didn't impress me so deeply.

When Dena talks about dancing, she glows with happiness and pride. I think everyone needs something in their life that fulfills them in this way. Me? Big toss-up between skiing and art-making, I think.
You can see Dena on the far left in the blue kuspuk. (Sorry D, forgot the Yup'ik name!)

Dena told Frommage and I that she had her kuspuk and dance fans, head dress and necklace but still needed mukluks to make her outfit complete. In Yup'ik, the traditional seal hide boots are puluguks. When she told me about needing boots, I realized that I have three pairs---one, my grandmother wore when she was in her 20's that I will cherish forever, a second pair that are over 100 years old and have signs of extreme use, repair and more use, and a third pair----that I could give her!!!

These are the very old puluguks----the ones I gave Dena were made of spotted seal hide with seal skin soles, a diamond patch cuff with red and black felt---and they fit her perfectly. I felt really good giving them to her---they have re-entered the world back with the right person---and to be worn dancing! It was absolutely the right thing to do. I've had them in a box for about 10 years.....and I don't remember where I got them, to be honest. Regardless, they've gone to the right place. In a broader, anthropological sense, I feel like I've returned a cultural artifact to it's rightful owner.
I have quite a few things that I think are really nifty and beautiful---like those mukluks---but don't necessarily need them or use them. I dearly want to cut down on my "stuff" as I like to live a little more pared down than I am now. (I don't want to clutter my new house!) Giving the boots to Dena was perfect----now I have to figure out where other nifty things can move onto...

and Dena, if you're reading this, I didn't post the picture of you eating ice cream! Aren't I nice? Posted by Picasa

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