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Visual Art

First Nations Virtual Gallery a Vibrant Collection

Second annual show highlights Indigenous artists Christopher Sweet and Dawn Dark Mountain

Barbara Arnold |

The second annual First Nations Contemporary Art exhibit will open at the Pablo Center at the Confluence on Friday, Oct. 30, and continue through Sunday, Dec. 13. The exhibit will feature 30 pieces of artwork created by Christopher Sweet, a member of the Ho-Chunk/Ojibwe nations from south-central Wisconsin, and Dawn Dark Mountain, a member of the Turtle Clan of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, one of the six nations of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee).

Sweet’s Ho-Chunk name is Huuc Co, meaning Blue Bear. He studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe, New Mexico. His work intertwines modern art and the pride he has for his native culture, and consists of still life to abstract, primarily done in acrylics, in bold, vibrant colors. He is also known for his murals. In addition, he has painted on deer hide – which he found easier than canvas – and framed it with birch logs.

Dark Mountain incorporates her clan turtle symbol – which signifies long life and creation – in all of her artwork. She studied at UW-Milwaukee and graduated from the University of Arizona at Tucson with an emphasis on watercolor. Her controlled watercolor style is often mistaken for air brush and results in a unique mystical quality sometimes referred to as “magic realism.” One of her recent series focuses on “Earth Medicine” features various healing plants, such as sage, cedar, and trillium.