It is only within the last century that the global art society has begun to take notice of highly prolific, yet previously hidden, folk craft communities. This March, The Harrison Gallery is bringing the global communities to Spring Street in Williamstown, MA. Opening March 1st the Communities of Creation exhibit will feature carvings from productive Inuit communities On the Hudson Bay in Canada, as well as Onda utilitarian pottery from Japan and Southern African beerpots. The public is welcome to the opening celebration on Saturday March 1st to appreciate the devotion to traditional styles and techniques, rarely seen in modernity. The show will run through March 22nd.
Inuit carvings are iconic representations of animal and human characteristics existing in the environment in which the artists live and work. Each piece is created from natural stone materials found in the area. These hand-made works ensure that every piece is different, displaying a wide range of subject matter, from drummers to walruses and bears. Despite any variance in form, each piece demonstrates the masterful stonework of artists trained through the traditions of a community, descending from the ancient Eskimo cultures once found in Northern Canada.
Traveling around the globe to Japan, the Onda Sarayama community was discovered in 1927 by an art theorist named Yanagi Soetsu. The members of this small community at the base of a mountain range began producing their wares for utilitarian functionality. These highly perfected pieces are objects which display decorative glazes and clay slips, advancing them from their original role as strictly functional utensils to works of art in their own right.
The final stop on the world tour lands the audience in Southern Africa where we find wonderful portals into the history and age of African beerpots. Known for the intensely dark color that can only be accomplished through the burnishing process; the pots perfectly illustrate the beauty of imperfections. Beer consumption is a very social activity, usually housed and produced by one woman within the community. Thus the size, shape and design were all important elements of the ritual determining the amount and price of the beer desired. In this culture, we see again, everyday wares finally being recognized as works of art in addition to their functionality.
Take this opportunity to see the works that have turned the global art community on its head. The Harrison Gallery is located at 39 Spring Street in Williamstown, MA. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:00AM to 5:30PM and Sunday from 11:00-4:00PM. For further information please contact the Harrison Gallery at (413) 458-1700, or visit our website at www.theharrisongallery.com.