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Ojibwa artist’s exhibit opens Gary Farmer’s Santa Fe art gallery

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SANTA FE, N.M. – The new Gary Farmer Gallery of Contemporary Art, a joint venture by character actor Gary Farmer (“Powwow Highway,” “Dead Man,” “Smoke Signals,” “Ghost Dog”) and his partner, Deborah Lamal, celebrated its opening June 10 at 131 W. San Francisco St. in downtown Santa Fe.

The opening was held in tandem with the reception for its premiere artist, a young Ojibwa artist from Ontario, Canada, named Travis Shilling. This remarkable 27-year-old artist has been “a friend and collaborator on a number of creative projects over the years,” said Farmer. “I have been following Travis’ work since he was 17; I could see the talent then and some 10 years later I am so proud to showcase five years of Shilling’s studio work from his relatively remote Indian reserve studio in central Ontario.”

Shilling, who was in attendance, paints impressionist portraits, figures, still-life and expressionist “mindscapes” in oil on canvas. The opening showcased about 30 of his paintings. Shilling is also experimenting with “surreal pottery” by creating humorous animal/human hybrid forms.

Opening this gallery and presenting Shilling is a dream come true for Farmer. A familiar face in these parts since making the feature film “Powwow Highway” back in 1987, Farmer has personally promoted and protected the works of tribal artists and musicians via print and radio but has, until now, lacked a public space.

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For years, Gary developed programs to give Native peoples a voice by acquiring radio broadcast licenses for and by tribal peoples. He published the magazine “Aboriginal Voices” to raise awareness about the inherent cultural value and importance of tribal traditions and history – and how they interface with the modern world.

Lamal said she is looking forward to traveling globally to seek the most contemporary work of Native peoples worldwide.

“We are interested in people’s processes and self-expression in cultures often long forgotten, unappreciated or dismissed and how they apply themselves in the here and now, because they are here and now,” she said.

Shilling enjoys gallery success in regional galleries in southern Ontario and city galleries in Toronto. He has simultaneous shows at the Moore gallery in Victoria and at the Beckett in Oakville, Ontario.

The gallery will also feature the sculpture of Six Nations artists Vincent Bomberry, Ron Curley, Daniel Hill and potter Steve Smith. For more information, call (505) 989-1171 or e-mail