Schoodic Institute Artist in Residence: Gina Brooks, Maliseet

Gina Brooks and Abbe Museum Director of Collections & Interpretation Julia Gray at the 2015 Native American   Festival & Basketmakers Market

Gina Brooks and Abbe Museum Director of Collections & Interpretation Julia Gray at the 2015 Native American Festival & Basketmakers Market

New this year, the Abbe Museum and Acadia National Park are partnering to offer an artist in residence program at the Schoodic Institute in order to provide more opportunities for park visitors to learn about Wabanaki history and culture.

The artist, Gina Brooks, Maliseet, works in many art forms, including pen and ink, acrylic paint, ash baskets, quillwork, moosehair embroidery, and countless more. Considering herself an artist that is informed by Wabanaki culture and tradition, Gina uses traditional knowledge and designs to create intricate, one of a kind pieces that often reflect Wabanaki oral histories. Join Gina at various times during the week to learn about her different mediums, artistic process, and cultural influence as a professional artist.

Monday, July 25

Painting Demonstration at Dorr Hall, Schoodic Institute

11 am – 3 pm

Storytelling at Schoodic Woods

7:30 – 8:30 pm

Rain Date: July 26

Tuesday, July 26

Basketmaking Demonstration at Dorr Hall, Schoodic Institute

11 am – 3 pm

Wednesday, July 27

Porcupine Quill and Moosehair Embroidery Demonstration at Nature Center Patio, Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park

11 am – 3 pm

Rain Location: Abbe Museum downtown

Wednesday, July 27

Storytelling at Schoodic Woods

7 – 8 pm

Thursday, July 28

Birchbark Etching Demonstration at Dorr Hall, Schoodic Institute

11 am – 3 pm

Friday, July 29

Pen and Ink Demonstration at Dorr Hall, Schoodic Institute

9 am – 12 pm

Location: Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, 9 Atterbury Cir, Winter Harbor, ME 04693


New Exhibit by Native Artist Dozay Coming to the Abbe Museum

Original paintings illustrate the various legends of Kluskap and his adventures. Image courtesy Dozay.

The Abbe Museum is pleased to announce the opening of Kluskap of the Wabanaki, an exhibit by Maliseet artist Dozay. Consisting of original paintings, the exhibit illustrates the various legends of Kluskap and his adventures across the Wabanaki homeland, using landmarks that tell his story. It will be on display from November 5 through December 19, 2015, with a reception and meet the artist event on Saturday, November 28th from 1 - 3 pm at the Museum.

“I chose this subject because, in every eastern state and province, there are landmarks that the Wabanaki people have always known to be important,” said Dozay. “These landmarks tell of Kluskap and his many teachings. I learned, after showing this exhibit previously, that it was totally new to many people, even among the Wabanaki people.”

According to Wabanaki oral histories, Kluskap–or Koluskap, Gluskap, Glooskap, and Gluskabe–made the world habitable for human beings and taught people to live wisely. Kluskap stories have been told and retold over many generations, and these legends have always been known to teach lessons of values, and the characteristics of the animals and Mother Earth. Kluskap was a positive force with all Wabanaki tribes, and people from all the communities have written and illustrated many versions of the Kluskap legends.

“I have discovered that most legends are simply told and not illustrated,” Dozay stated. “I feel and have experienced that our Wabanaki tribes and cultural significance are known and considered significant among our own people, but lacking in mainstream Aboriginal teachings. Wabanaki ways were not taught in school or even recognized as a distinct Aboriginal culture, and my objective is to make our own people aware of our hero Kluskap by illustrating his adventures in combination with the importance of our Mother Earth.”

Kluskap and Grandmother in Stone Canoe. Image courtesy Dozay.

Dozay, one of a very few professional Native artists in Atlantic Canada, has spent much of her life cultivating her passion for art. Growing up in Western New Brunswick on the Tobique First Nation, she left the banks of the Tobique at 18 to pursue a formal education at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Although she had always displayed an interest in art, her intention had initially been to pursue a career in education. It wasn’t until her third year of college that Dozay decided to switch to the fine arts program and pursue a full-time career as an artist. This is her first first show in the U.S.

The Kluskap of the Wabanaki project is unique in that it will eventually include all Wabanaki Kluskap legends of the east. The exhibit will be on display in the Community Gallery of the Abbe Museum’s downtown Bar Harbor location until December 19. Admission is $8 per adult, $7 for senior citizens, $4 for children (11 – 17), and children 10 and under are free. Admission is free to Native Americans and Abbe members.

Addition to the Abbe Museum Collections

Maliseet artist Gina Brooks and the Abbe's Director of Collections & Interpretation, Julia Clark

Maliseet artist Gina Brooks and the Abbe's Director of Collections & Interpretation, Julia Clark

TheDiane Kopec Collection Fund at the Abbe Museum was created to acquire works by living Native American artists. The collection reflects the vitality and vibrancy of Native American art today, and we recently added a birchbark box by Maliseet artist Gina Brooks to this important collection.

The imagery on the box includes the wampum pattern representing the Wabanaki Confederacy, the people holding up that confederacy, and on the lid, the double curve that represents the unity of the four tribes. Native people sent and received Wampum woven into belts as a form of communication. Through the geometric patterns of the beads, Native people wove wampum designs to remember and recall important events like oral histories, treaties, and agreements. These belts were brought back and forth from important events, and passed down from generation to generation.

Gina Brooks, Maliseet, is from St. Mary’s First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada, and resides in nearby Fredericton. She considers herself an artist informed by Wabanaki traditional knowledge, and her art includes brown ash basketry, porcupine quill and birch bark basketry, carving, and print making. Her original prints include acrylic and ink, and lithographs, monotypes, and copper etch plating. Her basketry and print art has been commissioned by private art collectors and Aboriginal organizations across Canada, and her work has been exhibited at the Charlotte Street Arts Center in Fredericton, Sudbury Nature Center in St. Andrews, (Weaving Traditions), and is featured in the New Brunswick Museum’s Wabanaki contemporary art collection.