Sunday, October 27, 2013

Final Organization

This week I completed the job I begun last week: organizing the drawings into groups of four for the exhibition next summer. Out of the hundred or so drawings, I organized eighty into columns of four each. The first three illustrate Point and his companions traveling to the Salish territory, including the changing landscape as well as the hardships of the long trip to the mountains. The second group each depict a different aspect village life. Hunting, familial and a handful of religious scenes show how Point and company adapted to Native American life and the early impact their presence had on the Salish and Coeur d'Alene Indians. I wanted these early columns to construct a narrative through imagery, beginning with Point's hardships and the rewards of his toils-conversions-becoming widespread in the area. Two mini-narratives of two major figures within the communities-Chief Nicholas of the Blackfoot and Ignace of the Flatheads-will show each man's religious life from baptism to death, and these eight pictures are my favorite in the entire collection.

After these two columns, the subject matter shifts dramatically to war scenes. I wanted to emphasize the difficulty of life within this area, and after relatively lighthearted religious scenes I thought battles between sworn enemies offered the right tonal change. I began this section with drawings depicting battles between individuals, and slowly expanded the scope with each column. At the end of this section is a scene of many Flatheads battling scores of Blackfeet, with a depiction of Christ overlooking the converted Flatheads. I thought this picture combined the two major themes of the collection-that of frontier life and the impact of religion on Native Americans. As such, I wanted to present it in the foreground of the entire exhibition, as the culmination of the narrative begun in the journey pictures in column one. One drawing in the first column depicts a suffering Jesuit brother attempting to sleep next to a wagon on the long journey to the mountains. This large, mighty depiction of Christ overlooking the recent converts, in my opinion, answers the question thought by the audience: why would someone undertake this journey? The answer lay within this battle scene: to fulfill Christ's call to serve.

The last several columns serve mostly as exposition for the artistic narrative featured below. This section features portraits more frequently than the previous. The reason behind this was to show the audience paintings of men who factored into the story of Point's mission in the frontier, fulfilling in their minds who these men were physically. The last piece, the one picture of the collection showing the Native American delegation to Washington, in my opinion depicts the lasting impact of journey's like Point's: through exploring the frontier and interacting with the Native Americans, Point and his compatriots brought the continent closer. Next week I'll be writing and possibly recording an audio accompaniment to the exhibition, and I look forward to articulating the images into a spoken narrative.

Till then!

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