January 26 - February 19, 2017
Opening Reception January 26, 5-7pm
Ofa Atu is both a solo exhibition and a public art project. The exhibition combines a series of the artist's paintings with screen prints produced by members of the local community during a DownStreet Art project Ostraff ran throughout the summer of 2016.
"I was a teenager living on a small island in Tonga when a man named Hiko called hundreds of tuna to him. Before I met Hiko there was a fierce hurricane that wiped out his village's food. Hiko one night had a dream and visit from the youngest son of the first Tui Tonga. He taught him how to call the ‘Atu (skipjack tuna) to him to feed his people. There were rules they would need to follow and if broken then he would not be able to call the fish again until the people had changed their hearts. For 21 years Hiko was able to call to the ‘Atu and the people in his village followed the rules. Then one day Hiko went out and called the fish, people took more than they needed and sold them, they broke the rules, and I was there. As a result Hiko said it would be a long time before he could call the fish again. I was recently reminded of this event through the work my brother Zac did on this story for his MFA thesis in creative writing. After reflection I saw places in my life where parallels exist and though I don’t live near the ocean I see the equivalent of the ‘Atu all around." -- Josh Ostraff
Josh Ostraff was born in Seattle, Washington. He has lived and traveled around the world with his family but claims Utah as his home. He received his BFA at Brigham Young University, his MFA at the University of Minnesota, and he currently teaches as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Josh is a multimedia artist who has exhibited his paintings, drawings, films, and art books both internationally and nationally.
See more of the Josh's work at: http://www.jostraff.com
Be sure to follow Josh on Instagram @thinwalls.studio.