NACOGDOCHES, Texas – A reception to mark the opening of the exhibition “Alita’s Curse” is planned for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 28, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, Stephen F. Austin State University’s art gallery located in downtown Nacogdoches.
The exhibition is designed to share the new fine press book written by Beverly Wright Morris in collaboration with Charles Jones, professor emeritus in the SFA School of Art. The show runs through Aug. 22.
“Alita’s Curse” is a historical fiction based on the lives of the author’s great grandparents, Alita Kochutin-Berikoff and Emilian Z. Berikoff, who lived on Unalaska in the Aleutian Chain.
“I wrote this story because I wanted to honor their lives and the lives of the Unangan people who have lived and thrived on the Aleutian Chain for 9,000 years, despite contact with Russian fur traders in the 18th century and U.S. government agents in the 19th century, Morris states. “In my research, I discovered that the Unangan people left a record of stunning engravings and drawings illustrating their daily lives. This fine press book, a collaboration between me and Charles Jones, intends to cast a glimmer of light on my fearless ancestors.”
As part of the exhibition, there will be a showing of the original woodcuts and engravings designed and printed by Jones, who operates the Crazy Creek Press. He and Morris collaborated on designing each print to correspond with events she describes in the book.
During the reception, Morris will read selected sections of the book while dressed in native clothing similar to what her ancestors wore. She has also created a video, which includes audio, singing, chanting, sea, whale and bird sounds, which will be projected during readings. Morris is a member of the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the board of trustees for the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in 2017. She is a writer, producer and director of documentary films and has been associated with the IAIA as a student, member of staff, producer and director since 1988. She helped found the IAIA Summer Film and Television Workshop and served as the director from 2004 to 2007. In addition to her service to IAIA, Morris serves is a member of the board of trustees of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and as the chair emeritus of the Native American Advised Fund at the Santa Fe Community Foundation. Morris received a BFA from SFA.
Cole Art Center exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public. Sponsors are SFA Friends of the Visual Arts, Nacogdoches Junior Forum and William Arscott. SFA’s historic downtown gallery is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.