WLIW Arts Beat

S2020 E601 | FULL EPISODE

WLIW Arts Beat - September 2, 2019

In this edition of WLIW Arts Beat, a photographer uses her art to highlight indigenous cultures; woodcarvers pay tribute to lives well lived; an artist’s passion for sharing art; and learning how art can promote peace.

AIRED: September 02, 2019 | 0:26:18
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>> Coming up on this edition

of "WLIW Arts Beat,"

a photographer uses her art to

highlight indigenous cultures.

>> I feel a deep responsibility,

and I'm very aware that

I am not of a specific tribe.

I'm a white woman.

I come from Los Angeles.

I'm of Jewish descent, but

it was my deep lifetime calling.

>> Woodcarvers and painters pay

tribute to lives well-lived...

>> They chose to represent

members of their family

who had a certain aspect of life

that they wanted to celebrate.

>> ...a passion for sharing

art...

>> I mean, it's something

that I have a passion for,

and maybe it's even a little bit

of an addiction, I'd say,

that I just like to,

you know, buy that new thing

and share it with people.

>> ...and learn how art

can promote peace.

>> It can create empathy,

and, to me, that's the trigger.

That's the way

that we can communicate.

>> Stay with us

for "WLIW Arts Beat."

Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat"

is made possible

by viewers like you.

Thank you.

Welcome to "WLIW Arts Beat."

I'm Diane Masciale.

Los Angeles-based photographer

Dana Gluckstein

has traveled all over the world

to capture the stories and

realities of indigenous people.

Her body of work merges

the personal and the political.

She has advocated on behalf

of the rights of indigenous

people everywhere,

from university campuses,

like LIU Post on Long Island,

to the United Nations.

We met up with her at LIU Post,

where Gluckstein recently

exhibited her photographs

in the university's

new gallery space.

>> I'm Dana Gluckstein.

I'm a photographer.

The journey of awakening

as an artist and a human

being takes time.

This work was created

over 30 years,

and I was not an activist

when I started.

That grew over time,

when I realized what was

happening on the planet

and that I needed to be a voice

that stood up for

maybe other voices,

people in these places that

wouldn't be able to do that.

The early calling

was for a city girl from L.A.

to experience the places

that still had a very deep

connection to the Earth,

in a traditional way,

and in so doing,

it really opened a door

to something that I never could

have expected,

about how native peoples

from all over the world

are fighting for their land,

their water, their air,

their respect, their culture,

their language, their dances,

the very essence of their being.

I feel a deep responsibility,

and I'm very aware that

I am not of a specific tribe.

I'm a white woman.

I come from Los Angeles.

I'm of Jewish descent,

but it was my deep lifetime

calling,

and I can't really

intellectualize why that was.

Why do we take the path,

the turn in the road,

that we do?

But this was my calling

from a young age,

and it developed over time.

In 2009, it was recommended,

through a lovely woman

who was representing my work,

that I was ready for a book.

And she said, "You're ready,

and I think that there would be

a great partnership

with Amnesty International.

They're doing important

indigenous rights

work internationally."

If I was going to be dedicating

30 years of my lifetime body

of work to this book,

to the global anniversary

of Amnesty,

that we make it do something,

and around that time,

I discovered that our country,

the United States,

had vetoed the United Nations

Declaration on the Rights

of Indigenous Peoples,

along with Canada, Australia,

and New Zealand, in 2007,

when 144 other countries

of the United Nations

voted for it, and I said,

"Let's make the book

about that."

We need to continue

to urge our government

to do the right thing,

and that's what the

United Nations' Declaration

is about now.

We have a template

for what to do,

the right thing for our own

people, our first peoples.

Something very dear to my heart,

and what I want people to know,

especially students here

at the university,

is that we can make a difference

as individuals,

but we need to do it

in collaboration.

Everybody here, are you

in history, art classes?

Just give me a general idea.

You're probably wondering,

"What does my area of interest,

in the profession that I want

to go into, have anything

to do with this show?"

Is anybody kind of wondering?

The area that each of you

mentioned has everything to do

with the indigenous voice

that you see here.

Even those that said,

"Accounting and business,"

because the corporations

around the world,

most of them have done the most

to destroy

these beautiful cultures,

the lands, the resources,

and what the contemporary

indigenous voice says,

that's part

of the United Nations

Declaration on the Rights

of Indigenous Peoples, is,

"Hey, corporate America,

corporate world, wake up,

because if you don't figure out

how to save

the world's resources

and use them in a beneficial way

for humanity,

that benefits all and doesn't

destroy lands or air or water,

we're all going down."

So, sorry, guys that are here

today in the business

and accounting world.

You have a huge responsibility

now on your shoulders.

I think she's so beautiful,

untouched, by her innocence

and her radiance,

and that she is the generation

coming up,

and that there is a future.

>> To find out more about

Gluckstein's work,

visit danagluckstein.com.

The National Museum

of Funeral History in Houston,

Texas, contains objects

and exhibits designed

to educate the public about

the history of burial practices,

and as their collection

of fantasy coffins shows, art

and the afterlife

sometimes go hand-in-hand.

[ Trumpet plays ]

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>> Behind me are the collection

of the Ghana coffins from Ghana,

West Africa.

They're from the artist

Kane Quaye.

There was a gentleman that had

this as a personal collection

that he would take around

to different conventions

and put them on display

for funeral directors

to enjoy as they came through.

He approached Mr. Bedeker,

at the time, who was

the president of the museum,

and inquired about possibly

putting them in the museum

for a loan purpose, on display,

and after a while,

he sold the collection to us.

I think, first and foremost,

the reaction is,

"Are these really coffins,

and do they really bury them?"

'cause they're such fine

pieces, and you can tell

that a lot of love

and time went into making them,

and then to just bury them,

it seems to be something

that's kind of unbelievable,

but, yes, they do, in fact,

bury the pieces.

>> The coffins behind me

really represent

the beauty and splendor

of the art culture of Ghana.

It began at the turn

of the century,

when families wanted coffins,

and rather than a traditional

Western coffin,

they chose to represent members

of their family

who had a certain aspect of life

that they wanted to celebrate,

and in African culture,

the ancestors are revered.

There's a great deal

of craftsmanship

and work that goes

into preparing these coffins.

There's a certain kind of wood

that was used by the artist

that could be carved easily

but also could be maintained

for a duration,

and they also

used sign painters,

who were very important

in urban Accra culture

and throughout Ghana,

and these painters would work

with the carvers to decide

about the brilliant patterns

and designs that

they would put on the coffins,

and I think that's what makes

them stand out

because rather than be solemn

and sometimes,

you know, very, very serious,

it's a celebration of life.

These works represent, for me,

the amazing kind

of originality of artists,

especially the woodcarvers

of Ghana and the area of Accra,

in particular,

but they also just represent

the human imagination,

and how we just reach out for

different kinds of expressions

creatively throughout our lives.

These works truly do embody

the celebratory quality of life

that you see in the country.

>> To find out more,

visit nmfh.org.

And now, here's an

"Arts Beat Fun Fact."

For over 40 years,

Kim Martindale has been dealing

art.

It's a passion that started

when he was a young boy,

a passion that he doesn't see

ever getting old.

Here's the story.

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>> It was just an affinity

from the earliest recollections.

So, when I was 16,

and I could drive,

the first ever antique Indian

art show started in Santa Fe,

and I was the assistant for that

show, and 2 years later, at 18,

I took over management of it.

It's been part of my life,

really, all of my life,

buying and selling, doing shows,

and then, in the art world,

with the L.A. Art Show

22 years ago.

>> And it made it feel

like the lines

are more glowing in the dark.

>> Wow. So it almost kind of

gave it a three-dimensional

aspect to it.

>> Exactly, exactly.

>> Certainly why I do it

is to help those galleries

meet those people.

What keeps me going,

when I have 18-, 20-hour days,

week on, week off, you know,

and just continuing on like that

is really to share art

with a wide range of people.

And so, I have a piece

that's fairly similar to this

but only with yellow

instead of this just black

and white palette.

I think that my tastes

have developed, and I think

that's one of the part --

important and exciting things

of being in the art world

is that there's always

more to learn.

There's always more to discover.

There's always a new artist,

a new technique, a refinement

of what you're looking at

because you have a broader

understanding of it.

So that's not to say that

somebody that's never really

looked at art can't come here

and talk to people

and be inspired by something.

I think they can completely be,

but even for that serious

collector, like myself,

that's looked at things

for a long time,

there are pieces here

that my taste --

I don't want to say it's higher

than a new collector.

It's just more informed

in some ways, and so my tastes

have changed in that way.

But I've always been interested

in a broad spectrum of art,

from tribal, American Indian art

to "fine art,"

painting, drawing, sculpture.

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You know, how do you learn

about this stuff?

It's come and explore,

engage, enjoy.

It just keeps you

excited every day.

Every waking moment,

you can learn more about art,

and there's all these

different traditions

from around the world.

For me, what an art show is, is

bringing the community together,

and it should be

Los Angeles community first

and then the world community,

as well,

so that we engage with that.

♪♪

I have around 5,000 pieces

in my collection,

but that could be from

an arrowhead to a painting.

So it's a wide range of things,

from American Indian to African

to oceanic to tribal to

contemporary art to modern art

to historic art to sculpture.

So it's just things

that I really have responded

to over the years,

and that won't stop.

I mean, it's something

that I have a passion for,

or maybe it's even

a little bit of an addiction,

I'd say, that I just like to,

you know, buy that new thing

and share it with people,

in my living space,

that I trade out pieces.

Because this is my passion.

This isn't about, like,

you know, like, this is a job,

and this is,

"I need to make this,"

and all of that.

I mean, all of those economic

concerns

are part of anybody's life,

but my reason for doing

this is completely passion,

and I want to share that

with people,

and I want to honor other people

in that relationship

with each other.

>> To see more,

head to krmartindale.com.

In Dayton, Ohio,

a unique gallery is using

the universal language of art

to promote world peace.

Join us as we visit

the Missing Peace Art Space.

>> Home is where you are.

So my home now is here,

but I come from Rwanda.

I came here because of

the genocide and massacres.

So I was looking

for a peaceful place to be,

and I found my peace,

so this is my home.

>> I am struggling right now,

as a Caucasian woman

with white privilege.

And I have become so invested

in the immigrant community

that when I experience

being treated differently

because I am a white woman,

I feel sick inside.

>> Peace is a state of mind.

Sometimes we just cannot control

the violence around us,

the anger,

the undesirable things.

But the way we react to them,

that's what --

where peace comes.

>> Three women, three cultures,

three very different life

experiences.

There is but one goal --

to explore issues of peace

through art.

>> Art allows you to be

a change agent because you're

putting your emotions

into tangible things

and putting it into the world.

I have started an organization

called The Compassionary,

and we're focused on projects

that will bring people together,

the diversity of our community

and the needs of

our community coming together.

>> One of the things

that I'm adamant about

is art should be able

to help break those partitions.

Once you put a barrier between

two countries or two cultures,

whether it's a real barrier

or an invisible one,

it's really difficult

to break it,

and so that's where art comes.

It really helps,

in one picture,

depict the other side.

It makes us see

what other people are suffering.

Once you see a picture,

then that image is with you.

It's not going to go away.

What is peace?

What is that supposed

to look like?

And it depends on each artist,

and I'm very against

telling an artist,

"This is a peace gallery,

and this is what peace

is supposed to look like."

>> On Dutoit Street in Dayton

is a little-known art gallery,

the Missing Peace Art Space.

Gabriela Pickett,

an artist herself,

dreamed of owning her own

gallery and studio.

While working with International

Red Cross in Europe,

she was asked to organize

an exhibition to benefit

children in Estonia.

With elbow grease and vision,

she created the space

for the exhibition,

which went on to become

the Missing Peace Art Space.

>> Art is a universal language.

We don't have to know

everybody else's language,

as long as we can

depict emotions in a canvas

because it can create empathy,

and, to me, that's the trigger.

That's the way that we can

communicate, not to mention

that it's a way to explore

our own feelings and issues

that are bothering us,

so that other people can learn

and see where we come from.

>> Gabriela and Jean

are fostering empathy

in Dayton's diverse communities

through the Mexican tradition

of Dia de los Muertos,

which includes a parade

and display of altars

at Missing Peace Art Space.

>> It's whimsical.

It's joyful.

It actually takes the morbid

out of death and makes it

strangely palatable.

>> Not everybody can embrace

Mexican art and the notion

of a Day of the Dead

because we see death

as a celebration of life.

>> Culturally, it's so unique.

It's equalizing.

We all have loved ones.

We've all had loved ones pass,

and we all have that memory,

and to be able to come together

and celebrate through

this tradition is magnificent.

So I created an altar for my dad

this last year,

and it was about art creating,

and it was about finding ways

that I could speak

to my memory of my dad

in a loving, honest way.

I resolved things through

that process that I didn't know

I had unresolved.

>> In addition to curating

the Missing Peace Art Space

and organizing Dayton's

Day of the Dead event,

Gabriela has become the voice

for immigrant reform in Dayton.

It began with a knock

on the door.

>> Originally, I started

working with refugees

from Central Africa.

They, literally,

came to the gallery asking for

summer camps for the kids,

and that's how I started

working with them.

Severa is just

an amazing person.

I believe in what she's doing,

and that's why

we've partnered with her.

>> Because of the war,

many people died,

so we have many kids

who don't have parents.

There's free schooling,

but they need uniforms,

they need books,

and then they need food.

So some will give them

school fees,

others will pay for the uniform

and the materials,

others will pay for,

like, lunch for the whole year,

and then they will be able to go

to school and learn because the,

as we say, hungry stomach

doesn't have ears.

>> Because of Missing Peace

Art Space, Severa has

improved her art skills

and helped more children.

In addition to selling her

own jewelry,

she buys items from artisans

and orphans back home,

sells them here,

and sends the money back to pay

for their school fees.

>> For me, when that lady,

that woman, that child

is doing the art, like,

maybe he's sewing or weaving,

she has this peace of mind.

She's sitting with

the other people

who are in the same conditions.

They talk.

They leave.

You know, they have that smile.

So it gives them relief,

positively.

As I said, peace,

I understand that.

It starts by your heart,

your mind, so it gives them

peace by sewing, by doing that.

>> If you can sit

with a pile of materials

and begin to use your

own memories to create something

for someone else to see,

there's a power in that

expression that is beyond words.

I think also, in a community

where we have so many languages,

whatever you choose to use

to create something,

that somehow is going to express

a deeper set of feelings

and beliefs and experiences.

Then we can build empathy

between each other

by sharing that art.

>> When I help somebody

put a smile on their face,

oh, I'm so happy.

That's my big joy.

>> I don't expect people to come

in here and go outside,

out the door, you know,

with a totally different

perspective of life,

but I would like to just instill

a little seed,

you know, for them to question

their own social constructs,

their own personal beliefs,

and with the hope that maybe

what I know as a norm

is not necessarily true.

>> To see more,

visit missingpeaceart.org.

That wraps it up for this

addition of "WLIW Arts Beat."

I'm Diane Masciale.

Thanks for watching, and we hope

to see you next time.

♪♪

Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat"

was made possible

by viewers like you.

Thank you.

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