Tradition & Innovation

Artists of the Eastern Woodland Tribes

March 5 - April 2, 2016

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 5th, 6-8pm

Native American Cultural Presentation & Workshop: Saturday, March 12th, 1pm

"Stories in Stone" Film Screening with Marc Levitt: Tuesday, March 29th, 7pm

Hera Gallery is pleased host the Tradition & Innovation: Artists of the Eastern Woodland Tribes. Through this collaborative venture, Hera Gallery and the Tomaquag Museum seek to promote a dialogue about Native American arts & culture and its role in the contemporary arts. We invite the public to join us Saturday, March 5th from 6 to 8pm for the opening reception of Tradition & innovation.

This exhibition will present work that represents traditional approaches to Native American arts, specifically those from the Eastern Woodland tribes, as well as contemporary approaches and media. Participating artists are:

Monica Alexander, Metis/Mi’kmaq, East Otis, MA

Sharon Alexander, Narragansett, North Kingstown, RI

Rhonda Besaw, Canadian Metis/Abenaki, Whitefield, NH

Jon Campbell, Penobscot, Narragansett, RI

Jeremy Dennis, Shinnecock, University Park, PA

Graham Gruner, Narragansett, Mystic, CT

Nancy Oakley, Wampanoag/Mi’kmaq, Eskasoni, Nova Scotia

Ayanna Proctor, Piscataway Conoy, White Plains, MD

Angel Smith, Narragansett, Mystic, CT

Yolanda Smith, Seaconke/Wampanoag

Dawn Spears, Narragansett Choctaw, Ashaway, RI

Lorén M. Spears Narragansett/Niantic, Charlestown, RI

Robin Spears, Narragansett, Charlestown, RI

Olive Alexander Whitford, Narragansett, Exhibiting Post Mortem

Exhibition Events

Indigenous Culture Workshop

Saturday, March 12th, 1pm

Led by Lorén M. Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum

Traditional items will be brought to share regarding Indigenous culture and the Spears will share the history, culture and the arts of Eastern Woodland people, with a focus on the Narragansett. There will be opportunities for participants to interact with the presenter through Q & A and other forms of interaction. The program will include some music and dance along with the oral history of Narragansett People.


Stories in Stone

Film Screening with Marc Levitt

Tuesday, March 29th, 7pm

Stories in Stones is the first film that looks at the Narragansett wall building tradition from multiple perspectives, artistic, spiritual, multi-generational and as a story of tribal affirmation. While some would see wall building as the haphazard placement of rocks, Stories in Stone, demonstrates that the wall’s beauty is the result of a finely honed and ever evolving sculptural aesthetic. While some see the walls as ‘the only option’ for the Narragansett, Stories in Stones makes clear, that more often than not, becoming a mason is a choice, a choice that allows freedom of movement, freedom from ‘inside’ work, freedom from working for others and the freedom to join a long and illustrious line of ancestors. While many believe that ‘tradition’ among New England Tribes is long gone, Stories in Stone makes clear that wall building remains a means to assert and perpetuate Tribal identity; in the choice to be a mason, in the placement of symbols, in the use of a particular aesthetic, in the visceral relationship to stone and in one’s spiritual connection to nature. Stories in Stone elucidates the stories that lie beneath one’s initial appreciation for the stone walls of Southern New England and in doing so, illustrates how the seemingly ordinary, can be indeed be, quite extraordinary.

Marc Levitt is a writer, storyteller, educator, radio and TV host, filmmaker and audio artist living in Wakefield, RI and NYC. He has won awards for his story recordings, for work in his unique musical/narrative historical storytelling style, for his work in radio and for his work in the arts and in the humanities.