MCLA Department of Fine and Performing Arts Sponsors Medicine Men Artists Exhibition


NORTH ADAMS, MA- The Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will sponsor "Medicine Men Artists: Paul Joe and Charley Singer" at the Porter Street Gallery on the MCLA campus at 94 Porter St. The opening of the exhibition is Wednesday, May 12, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.  

The event is free and open to the public.

The Navajo Nation east of Leupp along the Little Colorado River Basin in the southwest corner of the reservation in Arizona was the last to be added to the Navajo Nation in the early part of the 20th century. High unemployment and lack of educational opportunity have driven families apart looking for off-reservation opportunities.  

However, the Navajo of the Leupp area have recently made efforts to regain control of the education of their children and use this opportunity to reintroduce some traditional ways of living.  The Little Singer Community School was founded in the 1980s with this idea in mind. Paul Joe and his relative Charley Singer are maintenance workers at Little Singer School.  They are also practicing medicine men and self-taught artists, who draw and paint their own interpretations of Navajo life.   

The artwork is from the collection of Ann and Tony Gengarelly Ph.D., professor of art history and museum studies. This exhibition originated in Great Monuments of Art II as part of a unit on Navajo art and culture.  Students from this class have written texts to accompany the images on display.   

Jennifer Miller, with the assistance of Pamela Buchanan, is the curator of Medicine Men Artists.  Gengarelly said, "She has done an extraordinary job of pulling the art and culture together to present it in a compelling and aesthetically pleasing manner." 

MCLA student contributors include Shanti Sponder, Ben Warren, Natalie Tottenham, Christopher Dellea, Lauren Shea, Jennifer Miller and Pamela Buchanan.  Picture titles were fabricated to aid in viewing and cataloging the works.