The Equinox Petroglyph Project:      

Press Release
     June 10, 2008


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The Equinox Petroglyph Project Traveling Art Exhibition Begins at University of Maine Machias on June 20th, 2008
     
Machias, Maine, June 10th, 2008

The Equinox Petroglyph Project ; Interpretations by Women and Children Art Exhibition will open on June 20th, at the University of Maine Machias Art Gallery and run through July 18th, 2008.  The opening event, running from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. will include live Passamaquoddy music and a welcome ceremony. The show features works from 22 women artists, native and non-native, and over 30 Passamaquoddy children. The children range from 5th to 8th grade and attend Pleasant Point and Indian Township schools.

The works include paintings, drawings, printmaking, beadwork, basketry, hand-made drums, photography, wool felting, poetry, essays, short stories and original musical compositions. “Starting with a mere idea expressed in conversation last summer, it is thrilling to see the impressive collection of over 100 artworks that have been created through the “Equinox Project.” This Exhibition is the result of that effort and it is our hope that it will make many more people aware of the rich Native American history of Downeast Maine,” said Stephanie Francis, Co-Curator and originator of the Exhibition, and a Passamaquoddy.

 “Some contend that the Tribes had a matriarchal tradition before European influences were felt, we thought it was an appropriate time to seek out women and children to bring their perceptions and impressions of the stories that are told in stone at the more than nine sites on Machias Bay where the petroglyphs can still be seen,” Francis said.

Long before the Europeans ever came to the Americas, Machias Bay was the summer home of the easternmost tribes of what is known today as the Algonquin Nation. Shaman of the Tribes pecked images into stone ledges portraying the daily life of hunters and gatherers and inspiration from the Great Spirit.  These petroglyphs still survive today, many thought to be over 3,000 years old, but are eroding due to rising waters, acid rain and pollution.  A non-profit organization, The Maluhsi-Hikon Petroglyph Foundation, was formed to preserve, research and further educate about the petroglyphs and ancient Passamaquoddy culture and is the sponsor of the Exhibition. The Foundation is fundraising to build a public educational center to facilitate further study of the petroglyphs and the Passamaquoddy culture.

The Exhibition will travel throughout Maine, the northeast and other parts of the United States over three years. After a one month showing at the University of Maine Machias, the Exhibition will travel and be open to the public at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor from August 22, 2008 - January 3, 2009.  There will be a formal Autumnal Equinox opening on September 21, 2008 at the Abbe Museum. From September 18th through October 11th, 2009 the Exhibition can be seen at the Tides Institute in Eastport, Maine. Other venues will be announced as they are secured.

 To learn more about the Project please go to the Exhibition Web site at www.equinoxpetroglyphproject.org. A catalog of the exhibition, embossed prints on handmade sweetgrass paper, posters featuring petroglyph images, as well as,  CDs and DVDs of Passamaquoddy music and history are available for purchase on line, or at the exhibition openings.  All proceeds from the sale of commemorative items or tax-exempt donations support The Maluhs-Hikon Petroglyph Foundation,  P.O. Box 365, Machias, ME  04654.   For any information regarding the exhibition please contact, Stephanie Francis at Stephanie.francie@maine.edu or at 207-858-3005.