An item from a previous "Twisted Path" exhibit at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Abbe to reopen ‘Twisted Path’

BAR HARBOR — The Abbe Museum’s critically acclaimed “Twisted Path” exhibit series will celebrate its fourth year in 2017. “Twisted Path IV: Vital Signs” is an invitational exhibition of artwork that reflects personal stories about tribal identity and balancing life in a complex world. The exhibit opens on Friday, April 7. An opening reception will be held that evening from 5-7 p.m.

“It’s been exciting for me to work in a curatorial capacity for this exhibit,” said Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “Twisted Path is always a conversation starter, and with the artists invited to participate this year, I know that new understandings about tribal community health will be revealed. Contemporary art will be the mechanism to start the conversation.”

The title “Twisted Path” is based on a traditional beadwork pattern of the same name, describing a back and forth or meandering quality. It is symbolic of Native artists alternating between two cultures, striving to preserve historical and spiritual traditions while experiencing modern lifestyles and new art forms.

“Twisted Path IV: Vital Signs” will invite audiences to consider Native American concerns about personal and community health and wellness through the medium of contemporary art. Artists’ works will express emotional and cultural reflections on the human condition in tribal communities. The American Indian and Alaska Native people have long experienced lower health status when compared with other Americans. Lower life expectancy and the disproportionate disease burden exist perhaps because of inadequate education, disparate poverty, discrimination in the delivery of health services and cultural differences. These are the broad quality-of-life issues rooted in economic adversity and poor social conditions. Artist responses to this topic will be both hopeful and challenging and invite the audience to consider how these health disparities are a direct result of the colonization process. Educational programming around the exhibit’s theme will be offered throughout the year.

Participating artists were chosen based on the aesthetics of their work, their ability and willingness to tell stories through art, and the unique and contemporary natures of their forms. The list includes Jason K. Brown (Penobscot), David Moses Bridges (Passamaquoddy), Chris Pappan (Osage, Kaw, Cheyenne River Sioux), Hollis Chitto (Laguna/Isleta, Mississippi Choctaw) and ShaaxSaani (Tlingit).

“The Abbe staff and trustees are deeply saddened by the passing of David Moses Bridges on January 20, 2017,” said Catlin-Legutko. “His death is an incredible loss to the Passamaquoddy community and his Abbe family, and we are very honored that his grieving family shares our vision to include David in Twisted Path in memoriam. His art will continue to speak to us through this exhibit.”

The opening reception on April 7, from 5-7 p.m., is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to celebrate with curatorial staff, artists and fellow supporters while snacking on refreshments from local eateries. All guests must RSVP to [email protected] or 288-3519.

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