IN CELEBRATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OPENS
In Celebration of Indigenous Peoples, an exhibit of indigenous art from over 13 countries on four continents, will be officially opened Tuesday, 13 May, with performances and a reception at 6:30 p.m. in the Public Lobby of United Nations Headquarters. Several of the artists will be onsite to demonstrate their art, craft or tradition.
The opening programme will feature the musical group Yumari of Ecuador and singer Allison Warden of Alaska. Participants will be addressed by Maeh-Kiw El-Issa, a Youth Council Representative of the American Indian Community House and the son of Ingrid Washinawatok El-Issa, the Native American (Menominee) activist and former chairperson of the Non-governmental Organization Committee on the International Decade of the Worlds Indigenous People, who was murdered four years ago by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). A Masai elder, Koimurish Ole Mulo, will bless the exhibition space.
The exhibit contains artworks, sculpture, weavings, beadwork and traditional rock paintings by indigenous artists from Guatemala, Canada, United States, Mexico, Ecuador, New Zealand, Australia and the Kalahari Desert region of Southern Africa.
From Africa, there are Nigerian paintings depicting indigenous scenes and customs by artist Ibiyinka Olufemi Alao, with the artist on hand for demonstrations, and traditional rock paintings by Bushmen from the Kalahari.
A bronze sculpture, Standing Wrestler by Ousmane Sow of Senegal, representing a Nuba warrior from the Sudan, is featured. Ousmane Sow, who only began sculpting full-time at the age of 50, has created many series depicting Africas indigenous peoples, including the Masai of Kenya, the Peul of West Africa and the Nuba of the Sudan. He has also created a 35-piece series representing the Battle of Little Big Horn, including the Native Americans, the soldiers and the horses struggling on the battlefield. His sculptures are created to be seen in a collective group, a community or a tribe - men, women, children, cattle, horses - interacting in their natural environment. He works primarily with natural materials.
From Latin America, there are crafts and basketry from Ecuador and textile pieces courtesy of the Cultural Institute of Mexico and the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations. From Australia, Cameron McCarthy will demonstrate Aboriginal painting, in addition to paintings displayed from the Jinta gallery in Australia. There will also be Maori paintings and crafted pieces.
Many of the displays include demonstrations that encourage participation, especially of young people. Traditional Iroquois beadwork from North America and textiles from Guatemala will be demonstrated. In addition to the Native American totems on display, one is to be created at the exhibition.
The exhibition also displays works by several photographers, including:
-- Phil Borges, featuring indigenous peoples from Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America, from his book Enduring Spirit;
-- Margaret-Courtney Clarke, portraying the traditional wall-painting techniques of rural African women, on loan from New York Citys Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture;
-- Yamile Barcelo, of the Huicholes in Mexico;
-- Stephanie Hollyman, of the Inupiat people of Alaska; and
-- Holger Thoss, Roberto Borrero, Eskinder Debebe and Mark Garten.
The exhibit will feature a series of Public Service announcements on endangered languages, prepared by Discovery Channel in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Works programme.
Organized by the Non-governmental Organization Committee on the International Decade of the Worlds Indigenous People, the United Nations Department of Public Information and the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the exhibit coincides with the second session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which is meeting at United Nations Headquarters from 12 to 23 May. Over 1,500 indigenous people from around the world, including some 500 organizations, are attending the Permanent Forum to discuss problems such as land issues, health needs and other pressing questions affecting indigenous people. The exhibit will be opened until 11 July 2003.