The Mitchell Museum opens a new exhibit, “All My Relations: A Seneca History” on Saturday, Sept. 27.
The exhibit, prepared in collaboration with Seneca visual artist and dancer Rosy Simas, introduces the history of the Seneca culture through milestones in the lives of Simas and her relatives.
It includes traditional and modern Seneca artifacts, which over the span of generations, represent the intimate themes of loss, connection and resilience.
On the exhibit's opening day a curator tour will take place at 11 a.m., followed by an artist talk with Rosy Simas at 2 p.m. entitled “Transforming a Family History into Dance.” The talk is $10 for members and $12 for non-members. Call (847) 475-1030 or visit mitchellmuseum.org for more information.
The recorded maternal lineage of Ms. Simas extends back to Cornplanter (1750-1836), the distinct War Chief of the Seneca tribe during the time the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794 (a land treaty) was signed by George Washington.
Materials from Simas’ grandmother tell of growing up on the reservation, attending boarding school, relocation to urban centers, and the American Indian Movement.
Historical maps and unique artifacts including a Seneca basket made by famous artist Nettie Watt will be on display. Video segments highlight the Seneca thirty-year protest to keep Cornplanter’s land from the flooding of the Kinzua Dam erected 50 years ago. The loss of the land during this part of Simas’ story evolved into her artistic modern dance now touring the United States.
“This installation is the first I have ever made,” said Simas. “I am primarily a dance maker. My work investigates how culture, history, home and identity are stored in the body and can be expressed in movement.”
At 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, through Saturday, Oct. 18, Simas will perform “We Wait in the Darkness” at Columbia College in Chicago.
The performance is in correlation to the Mitchell Museum exhibit, and is based on her Seneca heritage and the ways ancestry, homeland, culture and history are stored in the body and expressed in movement. Discount tickets are available for visitors hwo attend both the exhibit at the museum and the Columbia College performance.