Sacred Places: Watercolour Diaries from the American South WestRead full artist's statement
It is Foster's belief that all societies need to express their reverence for extraordinary places. Tribal societies express it through their religious practices and ceremonies. The more secular culture of Western society expresses it by designating National and State Parks, National Forests and Monuments, thus rendering them sacrosanct. It could be argued that the “Environmental Movement” is the secular means by which we express our need to honour the Earth.
The American Southwest encompasses many places of extraordinary resonance and beauty. This exhibition is Tony Foster’s personal response to these lands. He travelled as an outsider with an open mind, hoping to learn of the relationship between the spiritual lives of the people, of whatever tribal affiliation, race or faith, and their landscape.
In order to help understand and convey the history and meaning of the places where Foster was working, Cathy Notarnicola was appointed as guide to the intricacies of Tribal Law and tradition. Formally Lead Curatorial Researcher at The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, her task is also to curate a group of works from private collections and from contemporary artists and craftspeople to support the exhibition. It is the intention hereby to enrich each viewer’s experience with deeper understanding of each site and of Tony’s travels.