Penobscot Nation artist explores ‘Sense of Place’ in Gilley presentation  

James Eric Francis Sr.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Artist James Eric Francis Sr. explores an Indigenous sense of place in the landscape in his work. 

Francis is a multi-media artist, painter, graphic artist, photographer and filmmaker. He is also a researcher who serves as the Penobscot Nation’s tribal historian. He says that Penobscot culture and an Indigenous perspective on landscape and nature infuses all of his artwork. 

Francis will give a presentation at Wendell Gilley Museum at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12. 

Francis grew up on Indian Island, the reservation of the Penobscot Nation near Old Town, and studied history at the University of Maine, then earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from UMaine in Intermedia Fine Arts. 

He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Abbe Museum and has served on the Native American Advisory Board for the Boston Children’s Museum and the Advisory Board of the University of Maine’s Hudson Museum in Orono, and the Board of Directors for the Bangor Museum and Center for History where he served as chair of the Collections Committee. Francis has also served as chair of the Penobscot Nation’s Cultural and Historic Preservation Committee. He is a lifetime member of the Maine Historical Society.   

This acrylic on canvas piece by James Eric Francis Sr. commemorates the reestablishment of Atlantic salmon in the Penobscot River watershed. The fishing spear represents the cultural connection between the salmon and the Penobscot.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Museum and Archives commissioned Francis and two other Indigenous artists to create contemporary art for its permanent museum collection in an exhibit called “American Indians and Conservation,” which opens this year at the Service’s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.V. 

Registration is required for this free event at Indicate if attendance will be online or in person when registering. 

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