Submitted by Connie Bellet
Local artist Connie Bellet will display her paintings, drawings, and scrimshaw at the Gibbs Library, in Washington, during January and February. The show opens on Sunday, January 8, from 2 to 4 p.m., and refreshments will be available. The library is just east of Rte. 220 at 40 Old Union Rd. The public is invited to attend, and all pieces will be for sale.
The show is a retrospective containing pieces that were produced as part of “Inspirada Americana,” a live concert multimedia touring production that ran for nearly 25 years. Bellet’s husband, singer/songwriter Phil White Hawk, composed the songs and presented the Native American legends and history that made up the performances. The couple toured all over the West, from the Mexican border to the subarctic, “usually at the wrong time of year,” quips White Hawk. They performed over 1,000 times for conventions, universities, schools, reservations, and service clubs.
Scrimshaw is a relatively rare and ancient art form, which Bellet has mastered over the years when she wasn’t touring. Images are carved, poked, or scratched into ivory, horn, or bone, and then pigments are rubbed into the scratches. The oldest piece known was done on a mammoth shoulder blade. However, Bellet’s pieces, which mostly involve wildlife art, are generally scratched in with an exacto knife and colored with inks and oil paints. One piece in the show, “I Am the Walrus,” won an international trophy. Bellet’s scrimshaw is collected internationally.
Special guests, members of the Great ThunderChicken Drum, will enliven the exhibit with hand drums and songs in the Children’s Area. Fifteen years ago, the Drum coalesced at the Gibbs Library to learn and perform the Ceremony of 8,000 Drums. This healing ceremony was brought to Maine by Jody King and Dabadi Thaayrohyadhi, the Wisdom Keeper of the Otomi/Toltec/Teotihuacan Peoples of central Mexico. This teaching was mandated by a prophecy that is over 500 years old in preparation for the arrival of the new Baktun in 2012. The Great ThunderChicken Drum will return to Gibbs in March to perform this ceremony, which is open to the public.
“This is probably my last art show,” says Bellet. “So come out of hibernation and join us for songs, legends, and some hot cider. Let’s have fun with this!” For more information, please go to email@example.com or call (207) 845-2663.