[KCET] Celebrating Native American Art: ‘First Peoples’ Exhibition Showcases Wide-Ranging Indigenous Works

By Liz Ohanesian
April 13, 2017

On a side wall at the San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center, deep inside “First Peoples: A Celebration of Native Artists in Southern California, a 29-artist exhibition, Rowan D. Harrison’s pottery is an immediate attention-grabber. In “Reservation Plates,” the Fullerton-based artist places three earthenware clay plates, each one hand-painted with an intricate pattern, as a symbol of life on a reservation. In “Flowers,” 25 small plates are arranged on a display board, their flowers inspired by desert flora. Meanwhile, two untitled vases draw upon Pueblo tradition.

Born in Albuquerque and raised in Southern California, ceramicist Rowan Harrison found inspiration in his own Native American heritage. He’s Navajo on his father’s side and Pueblo of Isleta on his mother’s side. “The Pueblo people, we have a very, very rich history in pottery making and working with the natural earth, working with the elements of the natural earth in creating pueblo [structures] for functional purposes, religious purposes and so forth like that,” says Harrison. He grew up surrounded by his parents’ own pottery collection and it was his grandmother who taught him how to work with clay. Today, Harrison works with commercial clay to create vases and plates that he arranges into installation-type pieces.

Read the full article at: https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/first-peoples-celebrates-the-art-of-native-americans