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.