Meet local artist Alme Allen – Part of Arts and Culture Festival

Meet Alme and hear about how he created a unique piece representing Wiyot Culture.

Alme Allen is one of our six artists commissioned to create artistic interactive benches for the Eureka Waterfront Trail. This bench is located past the Samoa Bridge before Blue Ox Mill and is already installed!

See below for exclusive information, pictures and a short video.

Details:

  • Saturday, September 29 • 1:00PM
  • On the trail just north of Samoa Bridge

About the artist:

  • Alme H. Allen III
  • Karuk/Yurok… Born 1970

Biography

Alme Allen grew up in the traditional homelands of the Karuk People on the Klamath River in Orleans, Ca surrounded by the same mountains and streams as his fathers’ people.  Alme began to participate in the Karuk traditions at an early age, learning the songs, dances and ceremonies that help to keep the Natural World in balance.  It is these cultural experiences that have inspired much of his artwork he creates, and he has worked with various materials and mediums to express his gratitude and commitment to this way of life.

Over the years, Alme has accomplished many things within his art and cultural community, from public murals, facilitating art workshops for youth, administering carving projects with young men, an art and cultural tour in Portugal, and numerous local and regional Native American art shows. But what Allen finds to be the most important and gratifying work is the construction and upkeep of ceremonial/village sites in his tribal community. This type of work has then led him full circle back to the art of traditional carving, of which was one of the very first thigs had learned as a young man. For Alme and many of his cultural peer’s traditions like this are the root of all inspiration and are what connects the people with their home ground.

His most recent work includes instructing traditional carving workshops in the native community. Working under a Center for Disease Control grant “Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country” using traditional arts as positive reinforcement to address chronic risk factors in native communities; Concept and design of native themed public benches in Klamath, Ca on the Yurok Reservation as part of the Klamath Blvd. Renovation Project, funded be the National Endowment for the Arts; Carved redwood stools for California Academy of the Sciences as part of its latest major exhibit, “Giants of Land and Sea”.

“I enjoy carving and community work because not only all allows the passing of tradition, it allows the opportunity to mentor and educate the next generation…. It’s our culture and traditions and it’s our responsibility to carry it forward”

THE PEOPLES RETURN

This installation is meant to connect people with the land and help this community realize that all places are sacred. Long before today, the Wiyot people and other tribal groups of Humboldt and Del Norte counties had a well ordered system and traditional lifeways that expressed their commitment to nature and their homelands. The concept that the earth must be prayed for to keep it in balance and for the replenishment of all things in the natural world is something that has been followed and is practiced to this day.

The intention of this work is to place people in an environment where they are subjected to traditional and contemporary native art set in nature. This alone is a great opportunity to reclaim the space and tell the community that Native People are still here and it’s not about who we WERE, but who we ARE.

KEY ELEMENTS
  • The stools – Concrete versions of traditionally carved redwood stools. This allows for very old concepts to once again come to light, giving tribute to land by again occupying space as they had done for thousands of years.
  • The painted ground surface – Choosing to use the spiral portion of the Indian Island mural, “THE SUN SET TWICE ON THE PEOPLE THAT DAY”, at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, painted by Alme Allen and Brian Tripp in 2000 to set the stage for the stools. In addition to the spiral shape lending itself to the stools, it associates with a poem “IN THE SPAWNING GROUND”, by Brian Tripp, whom has been known for this type of work for many years. The work speaks of our connection to the home ground, our continuing generations and respect for what creation has given.
Thoughts from the artist

It has been an honor to conduct this work that has brought so many feelings and emotions not only for me, but for many community members as well. And to once again pay tribute to a very sacred place, Tulawot (Indian Island), where its PEOPLE will RETURN and dance on the island again. In many ways I’m fortunate to have this opportunity to help tell a new story for a new generation about a place where the PEOPLE came to bring balance and rid sickness from their world. This is a story that is not about a great tragedy, but rather about renewal, respect and healing a community.

“As sure as the sun sets, it will surely rise again and it’s up to us how we choose to stand in tomorrows light”.

This work is dedicated to all those that came before us who stood strong enough for our stories to be told today.

To see all bench art posts, follow this link.

 

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