Sharing Traditional Art with Europeans

On May 30 Dennis and I left a big flood behind in Ross River, and landed in Germany where many cities, towns and villages were also flooding. We are here on our annual trip to promote tourism, culture, and Yukon artists, including and Dennis’ artwork. It’s something we volunteer to do – we are promoting the Yukon from our hearts.

Some of the cities where we planned our promotion tour are in the flooding zone, so we decided to concentrate on the Berlin area. We are presenting Healing Through Art workshops, artist talks and seminars. We are also promoting the Adaka Cultural Festival – both Dennis and I have been involved with the festival the last two years – from being involved with the gallery, to presenting artwork, to performing music with our band Dena Zagi.

Using a dremel tool and some hand tools, Dennis teaches antler carving, for example, how to make pendants, rings, and earrings. His workshops include an artist’s talk, storytelling and an exchange of knowledge with the participants.

We come to Germany almost every year, and the people we meet become friends, and the circle is getting bigger and bigger dvery time we visit. People are very excited to meet us and especially because Dennis is a First Nation artist.

We advertised through word-of-mouth and print media that we would be holding carving workshops, which includes artists’ talks and story telling. Last weekend we had three participants, and three more interested people came just to watch and to hear our life-stories in the Yukon.

Two of the participants traveled one hour to attend, and one made the three-hour trip from south of Vogtland on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Earlier this year, this young man had demonstrated in the Idle No More movement in Berlin. There he met some of our friends who told him that we would be in Germany for a promotional trip this summer.

He contacted us through email and we made arrangements to meet. One of his passions is dancing in pow-wows and he feels very connected to native people and Mother Earth.

We had a very nice coming together with all participants of the workshop. And we also shared our songs with them. Dennis and I formed the band Dena Zagi, and the songs are performed in the Kaska language. More people are asking for workshops now.

Our time in Germany also included a chance to meet with key people for future projects and to promote other businesses. Two weeks ago we met with the Mayor of Ludwigsfelde to talk about Yukon projects to bring to Germany, and yesterday we met with a society to discuss the idea of a solo art exhibition in 2014 for my carving and painting.

We still have until the middle of August to do some more promoting and to meet up with interesting people. We will be traveling to the Czech Republic and Poland as soon as the floods are down.

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