Cherokee Kid

Jim Alberty is a member of the Bird Clan of the Cherokee Tribe of Oklahoma. Born in Claremore, OK he now lives in Maine, working as a composer, writer and Creative for Apple. He is active in the Casco Bay area arts and education communities as a composer, musician, social dancer and actor.

One Garden, Many Fruits

 Link to FaceBook album is here.

I should know better now. I've done more than 56 orbits of the Sun by now and you'd think I'd know better.

Life gives you what it gives you and it has to be accepted then used.

And thanks for whatever comes along is required as well. Sooner or later we'll have to give thanks for it, no matter how it feels at the moment.

That said I'm still surprised at how surprised I am that less than a week after the tragic passing of Erin Cummings I can see how life continues to amaze.

Today though really stunningly hot - Oklahoma hot, I'd say - I took up a friend's general internet invitation to attend the opening of the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion at Colby College.

With this addition (so I was told by a seatmate at the hamburger feast afterwards) Colby now has the largest exhibition space in the state. I'll have to check on that but it certainly seemed that way today. Designed by Fredrick Fisher and Partners of Los Angeles it seemed graceful and bright, a well-implemented minimalist design.

 Trapezoidal shape and of a generous height, I know it was brightly lit but I have no memory of how the lighting system was actually implemented, no visual memory of fixtures or lighting sources.

On the terrace, a wonderful, evocative illustration of what life can be like - a tree with 40 fruit branches grafted onto it. You can see it in closeup in the FB gallery linked above.

I'd very much like to be there in Autumn when the pie is baked.

There was a lot of similar use of unobtrusive tech to display and even create the art. I spoke with Marc Nabarowsky, who set up the video system to overlay images over a brushstroked canvas - everything was considered.

Below the new pavilion were smaller theme-based galleries - some based on "modernism" or "water" or "poetry" or "exotica seen by Americans" ....

..... and one gallery I was "warned" about containing the "Taos Society of Artists" (Wikipedia link is here) dating from 1915 - labeled "Art Of the West", when it might better have been described at "Art ABOUT the West".

So here were classically - i.e. European - trained artists painting Native American ..... you know, it's not helping my mood that Barber's "Adagio for Strings" just came up in my playlist as I'm writing .... where was I? Oh yes, what were these guys thinking as they worked? Was it out of pity, nostalgia, avarice, loss? I'm going to have to spend time with this room and figure it out, because the questions still ring today.

And the irony is not lost. I had to leave after a couple of really fascinating hours, promising myself to come back and try to see all the parts and figure out why I found it so evocative - and what was being evoked.

So back down 95 I went - down and over to the right, to Lisbon, the third day of the Moxie Festival, to the Spirit of the Wolf Pow Wow.

The Festival was pretty much over - the streets of Lisbon looked as they always do - but behind the High School I could feel the unmistakeable pounding of pow wow drums, even from two blocks away - with the help of open windows.

I've not been to a pow wow in a year or more - I usually work at least one weekend day and often have no time to spare. I'd intended to blend both events together - it turned out to be a fortunate idea.

I was too hot - and my schedule was too tight - to allow me to dance. Also by this time I'd switched into a Cherokee tribal t-shirt, and not being dressed in regalia is frowned upon in formal dances. It's not "illegal" but it is considered a faux-pas.

A visit to a dealer's stand replenished my supply of white sage - I might offer to smudge the Museum if they'd like - though judging from their crowd Colby's luck is holding just fine.

It was refreshing to see the swirl of colors, hear the thunder and hidden form of the singing.

These - thankfully no one was wearing buckskins, though you will seem them in Autumn - are called "regalia" rather than costumes.

A "costume" is something you wear to dress up as something you're not - these are people dressing as they truly are and it's not taken lightly.

And so I had to consider how all of this fit together - well, really I didn't, I was also singing ideas for a new piece into my phone so at least I got some creation of my own in there as well.

Does contemplation of both Colby's collection - and others around me - and the fire and grace of regular people dancing in clothing tracing itself back thousands - thousands - of years - will these help me see the relationships in life - and my own compositions - better, more holistically?

I think art is what your personal truth is - whether you're acting, singing ,dancing, writing, composing, sculpting or whatever.  Life can be art if what you're living is what you truly are.

Or who you truly are.

The trick, as always, is to have some kind of idea what that actually is.