"Using Middle America as her muse, Kowch draws the history of a particular place -- invariably rural -- to the surface as it collides with a new reality in layers of metaphor and moodiness. The faces of her women may remind you of characters in a Tim Burton film."
--Steve Parks, Newsday

Friday, August 8, 2008

Gagaguwon Pow-wow '08

During the last weekend of July, I had the pleasure of once again attending the annual Gagaguwon Pow-wow, held in Oscoda, Michigan by the banks of the beautiful AuSable River. Hosted by the Preservation of Native American Culture (PONAC) each year, it's an event I always make a point to attend, being an avid collector of native jewelry and a staunch supporter of American Indian artists. It was great to see the new traders that were here this year, and even more great to see some familiar faces that I had the opportunity to meet again. So, I spent my weekend absorbed in all the beautiful handmade goods, stuffed my face with signature Indian frybread, listened to moving prayers of thanks, watched dancers in their breathtaking regalia, and walked away with, not one, but a few new pieces of jewelry. As a result, I'm not allowed to treat myself to anything for a few good months, but oh well!! I probably can speak for a lot of collectors in saying that if you find something that you just know is for you, it's a good idea to grab it, because once it's gone, it's gone, and there'll never be another like it.

I started collecting only about two years ago, but it's growing slowly and surely, thanks to the artists and other wearers who help me along in what to look for in terms of craftsmanship and authenticity. I learn something new with each piece, and that's a major part of the beauty and thrill of it. Southwest Art magazine's current issue is the 2008 annual which devotes itself entirely to contemporary Native American art, and it's the best one I've seen yet. Check it out here. You can also visit PONAC's official website here, as well. Hats off to this organization for all they do! Migwich (thank you)!


Chelsea Kirchoff said...

Shut up! I WAS TOTALLY THERE! If I had known you were going to be there, I would've called you in an instant! I seriously cannot believe we were both in the same place at the same time. It was my first time going, but it was awesome.

Leyland "Lee" DeVito said...

I'm happy that you're such a supporter of Native American art. I'm fascinated by native culture but I know very little about it. Overall I think as a country the U.S. should acknowledge its native roots better. Putting Sacagawea and little Jean Baptiste on the dollar coin was a nice step in the right direction, but only a step. It seems like every other nation is represented in the U.S. except our own original people!

Great post, I will check out that magazine.