MISSION - A 30-year fascination with Chief Joseph and the country through which he traveled on his fateful journey north has led a nationally-recognized painter and printmaker to eastern Oregon.
Kay WalkingStick is a professor of art at Cornell University in addition to being a well-known artist. She spent the past week working with Frank Janzen, master printer with Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts, on a collection of newly-created prints.
"One of the reasons she's here is she has a show in New York in April and the prints we make here will be shown there," Janzen said.
WalkingStick's prints will be featured as part of her show organized by Truman Lowe, curator of the National Museum of the American Indian, which is part of the Smithsonian institute. The show will be on display in New York City in April. It's one in a series of similar exhibits organized by Lowe that will spotlight American Indian artists over the next two years.
"I'm doing a show relating to Chief Joseph and the countryside they traveled through and objects they used," WalkingStick said.
The prints made at Crow's Shadow will capture landscapes along the route Chief Joseph traveled, including the site where he and his tribe were apprehended in Bear Paw, Mont. They will be incorporated with smaller paintings done by WalkingStick in 1976 and 1977.
"I see the show as an artist's view of a historical occurrence," she said. "It is my view, but separated by 30 years."
Walkingstick will use patterns taken from authentic corn husk and parflesh bags made by the Native American women of the area as well as lithograhs and lino cuts inspired by her sketches of the landscape of eastern Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Janzen and WalkingStick hope to complete four or five prints that will be suitable for use in the upcoming exhibit and have blended several different mediums to get unusual effects. The final prints will include subtle blends of lino-cuts, lithographs and etchings.
The inspiration for the use of the ancient art of lino-cutting as part of the process came from a series of prints made by local tribal youths who were involved in an artistic project with Janzen last year, WalkingStick said.
"That is really what inspired me," she said. "Seeing what these kids have done."
An artist's reception will be held at Crow's Shadow Institute for the Arts from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday.
More information about the National Museum of American Indian is available on the Internet at www.nmai.si.edu.