What does it mean to be marginalised? Is it when your individual rights seem over-looked by the more populous culture? Is it when your stories are mis-told or forgotten in favour of those from other sources? Is it when your culture has been so deeply romanticised that no-one truly understands you any more? Perhaps it is all of these things, and many more.
Seneca Nation and Bear Clan member Dave Kimelberg wanted to do something about this for his own people. The Iroquois-language indigenous people of the Lake Ontario southern region are not forgotten. Kimelberg's K Art Gallery in Buffalo is owned and run for Native American contemporary artists. Of course, anyone from any culture can go and visit but the works on display are guaranteed to be from the hands of authentic Native Americans.
When it turned out that the plans were to be laid over with pandemic reaction, it did seem that things may not happen as hoped. Never-the-less, the K Art Gallery went up as scheduled and beat the odds against it. Sound familiar? It must be that survivor spirit conjured up over years of marginalisation.
What does Kimelberg have to do with arts though? After-all, he's the Chief Executive of the financial wing of the Seneca Nation. He doesn't work in the arts. That's where we are all wrong. Just because his professional history is not in the arts, as a human being and a genuine descendent of the original American people, there's no better qualification. Of course, he had help and the artists who's work is on display have skills they have learned. When these people work together, the congeniality of the tribe manifests.
The theme of this gallery is to awaken people to the modern face of Native America. When we think of the culture, we often think of cowboys and Indians, feather head-dresses and tomahawks. We've seen the films, we've read the history books, we've felt bad for what they endured, but do we know who they really are? This K Art Gallery idea really pushes home the truth about this culture and demonstrates that the Seneca People still live and work in the modern age.
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