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here we come, 2021

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

In 2012 Rick Bartow, an internationally recognized Native American artist from Newport, Oregon, unveiled his sculpture "We Were Always Here" at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC by inviting Wiyot tribal members to demonstrate a traditional brush dance at the dedication ceremony. He had spent some years reconnecting to his ancestry in Humboldt County and had Wiyot triabl membership, but what he didn't expect was Wiyot Tribal Chairman Ted Hernandez to invite him into the dance with the words: "you need to learn".

Rick returned home again in 2014 to Tuluwa't, where his ancestors had danced, to participate in the first World Renewal Ceremony the Wiyot Tribe had performed since 1860 and although Rick Bartow began reconnecting to the Wiyot Tribe late in life, the relationships that were created and renewed have endured.

The Bartow Project is a multi-year community engaged collaboration between the Wiyot Tribe and Dell’Arte International to celebrate and honor this complex and revelatory artist here in Humboldt County, from where his grandfather emigrated to Yaquina Bay, OR at the beginning of the 20th century.

What began as a proposal to write a full-length spectacle-based play that engaged mask-makers, puppeteers, and actors, and would be written with the people who knew Rick here in Humboldt, has been re-envisioned in 2021 after the onset of the Covid19 pandemic to include the creation of 4 original short films by Native filmmakers and 1 radio podcast about the art and life of Rick Bartow (1946-2016).

If you were lucky, perhaps you caught Co-Artistic Director Michelle Hernandez' film Douk or our filmmaker panel at the 2021 Baduwa't Festival. If not, then you are still in luck! We recorded the panel and will make it available online coming very soon.

image courtesy of Froelick Gallery

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