by Lisa Levart
The culmination of an 18-month, creative collaboration between myself and women (and girls) from the Ramapough Lenape Nation will be on display at the Historical Society of Rockland from September 9th to October 30th. The first half of the series was exhibited at Ramapo College in New Jersey and the Bartow Pell Museum in the Bronx. At the Historical Society of Rockland, the series will be seen in its entirety. Portraits completed in the past few months will be displayed for the very first time.
For this series, the women researched long forgotten Lenape stories. Using these re-remembered myths as a foundation we made photographic portraits throughout Rockland and Orange Counties. In my digital studio, the portraits were collaging with textures–metal, wood, water, and concrete–to give the images an ancient, historical quality. Once printed, the portraits were mounted on wood and hand painted with the encaustic medium of bee’s wax and resin. (Fun fact: Some of the bees wax was from local Nyack Bees!)
Women from the Ramapough Lenape Nation is a natural extension from my on-going project, Goddess on Earth. I am passionate in my belief that when we reach back into the early myths and stories of all cultures, we often have more similarities than differences. By sharing these contemporary re-interpretations of the Lenape mythology, I hope that our Rockland community will gain a deeper mindfulness of our collective heritage, as well as an appreciation for the different traditions that have had an impact on the Hudson Valley. My goal is to reflect our unique community, bring more awareness and visibility to the indigenous women of the land we all call home and hopefully serve as an agent of change.
Please join us for a grand, opening celebration on Sunday, September 9th, from 1 to 4p. Spirit of the Mountain Singers along with dancers from the Ramapough Lenape tribe will perform at the opening. The Historical Society of Rockland is located at 20 Zukor Rd in New City and the exhibition continues on view through October 30.
For more information, please contact Susan Deeks at (845) 634-9629.
Photo: Lisa Levart (Hawk Woman) / Myles Aronowitz (Lisa Levart, Debra Beal, Marci Copeland in Harriman State Park during photo shoot for Women of the Ramapough Lenape)