Saturday, April 4, 2015

"Communing with the Ancestors" Group Show - Featured Artist: Ulla Anobile

Communing with the Ancestors Group Show
Featured artist: Ulla Anobile
April 11 - May 5, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 11, 2015 * 6p-9p

Cactus Gallery is pleased to present Communing with the Ancestors. In putting together this show, I asked featured artist Ulla Anobile, whose 70th birthday prompted the show, to gather some of her thoughts for this exhibit.

VIA ULLA ANOBILE: "As I've grown older, understanding where I came from has become increasingly important. Now, looking at the improbable age of 70, communing with the ancestors, hearing what they may have to tell me, seems necessary, even vital.

So many of us have lost the connection to our roots and to the ancestral soil through various upheavals, dislocations, losses, neglect. To me, the ancestral soil means not only the physical dirt and its location (though those matter too, a lot!) but also the cultural, emotional and spiritual background from which I emerged. It has become clear to me that I've not only inherited the physical DNA of my ancestors, but also, to a great extent, the DNA of my psyche.

I've come to realize that the ancestral connection can be found in startling ways. It can be a strong reaction to a piece of music, or a surge of emotion when seeing an old photo, or a sense of recognition when reading about old customs, traditions and beliefs. Even seeing a map or a list of names found on the Internet can bring up a memory even where memories should not exist. Saying aloud the name of a lake, river or village can create a spark: yes, that is where my roots are, that is where my unknown ancestors once lived.

I've felt a sense of belonging when touching a material - wood, bark, burlap - that was important in my cultural background. I've felt it when putting the needle through cloth in the repetitive work of cross-stitching. A glimpse of a color - the combination of red and black, in my case - can awaken a deep response. So can connecting with an animal that turns out to have been of totemic importance.

Traces of the ancestral past do remain alive in the present: in stories heard, songs sung, words used, sayings and proverbs repeated, a dialect spoken, rituals clung to. Some of us have family bibles, even drawings of family trees; others have just a vacuum filled with the vaguest recollections. But I do believe that by making an effort to create a connection to those who came before us - however that is accomplished - can make us just a little bit wiser, just a little bit more whole."

Please join us for this thought provoking exhibition brought to life through imagination and memory.

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