Water flows in rivers and streams, in arteries and veins. It flows around us and through us. From raindrops to vast oceans, from the largest tree to the smallest pollinator, we are all part of its currents. Water moves through rivers, as ancient beings that guard the stories of the living organisms that inhabit their banks and waters. In the exhibition, Water and Origin: Protecting and Honoring the First Storyteller, artists from across Turtle Island/North America explore these vital narratives. Through photography, painting, textiles, and ceramics, artists share the cultural memories of their communities and the importance of protecting these waterways.
The outdoor exhibition is curated by the artist couple Blake Lavia and Tzintzun Aguilar-Izzo, SLU '15. Through contemporary dance and photography, they delve into the environmental history of the Kaniatarowanénhne / St. Lawrence River Watershed on traditional Haudenosaunee territory and at the Antigua Watershed of Veracruz, Mexico, Totonac / Nahua Territory. Other artists included in the exhibition are Mohawk quilter Iakonikonriiosta, Mohawk ceramicist Katsitsionni Fox, and the Mexican painter Alberto Migort.
Hosted by the Richard F. Brush Gallery, the exhibition will take the form of a series of outdoor projections. In single-channel video projections, dance performances and artworks will flow together in one continuous stream. Water is the guiding force, a visual link that unites the different visions, artistic disciplines, and geographies.
Taking place as part of the North Country Art, Land, and Environment Summit, a St. Lawrence University Arts Collaborative Project, images will be projected on the exterior of the Owen D. Young Library throughout the month of September 2020.
Blake Lavia and Tzintzun Aguilar-Izzo are founding members of the Talking Wings Collective, a group of environmental artists and filmmakers who are working on Burning or Breathing: A Series About Earth Guardians. The documentary and multimedia project follows earth guardians from across Turtle Island/North America as they create a sustainable and restorative future. The collective’s work has been previously exhibited in the MassArt Godine Family Gallery, the K&P Gallery New York, Goddard College, the Dorchester Art Project, and the Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci.
In August 2020, Joe Murphy from Humanities NY interviewed Tzintzun Aguliar-Izzo and Blake Lavia about their work for The North Country Art, Land and Environment 2020 Summit. Read the interview.