Art with an impact 

Touring American Indian exhibit illuminates afflicted homelands

click to enlarge Uranium Womyn 238 by LisaNa Red Bear, Apache- - Xicana-Andalusia.
  • Uranium Womyn 238 by LisaNa Red Bear, Apache- Xicana-Andalusia.

Maybe second only to Christianity, environmentalism is a fountainhead of activity in Colorado Springs. Like the former, the latter is characterized by a battle for conversion to loving and defending the Earth that can become tiresome and stale in its endlessness.

The Smokebrush Gallery hopes to incite viewers' passions with a traveling art exhibition that offers a fresh perspective on environmentalism. Impacted Nations features more than 50 works from the country's top living American Indian artists and tells the stories of their struggle to preserve their homelands.

"I think a tribal approach is important for everyone to understand as an American whether you're Indian or not because native people have been here for millennia, living successfully," says Swedish-Cherokee painter America Meredith.

The show includes a painting by Meredith that depicts brine, or toxic water a residue from oil drilling that has made stretches of Oklahoma look like the lifeless surface of the moon.

Other themes of the exhibition include the politics of land preservation, wind and solar energy, and water shortages. Each painting is displayed with a list of environmental facts pertinent to the work.

"[The exhibition] is about the conflict between people and the land," says Julie Cole, the gallery director. "It's exploring the tensions about money, politics and resources."

In addition, the exhibition explores conflicts between disparate cultural groups.

"The clich is that people from different cultures can't understand each other," Meredith says. "The truth is, we can."

Honor the Earth, a Minneapolis-based organization dedicated to supporting the survival of American Indian communities and their environments, is curating the show.


Impacted Nations

Smokebrush Gallery, 218 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 102

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.; show runs through July 27.

Call 444-1012 for more info.


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