R.E. Bartow (Yurok) b. 1946
"The Cedar Mill Pole," 1997
Carved cedar, 26' x 19.5" base diameter
Washington County, Oregon and Oregon College of Arts, Portland, Oregon Funding from the Regional Art and Culture Council, Portland, Oregon and private contributors
R.E. Bartow is emerging as one of the outstanding Native artists of this century. He is very well known for his paintings, works on paper and carved contemporary masks. Bartow has exhibited extensively in his home state of Oregon, as well as, nationally and internationally. He has worked with international indigenous artists, attending artists gatherings in Japan and New Zealand. It was in New Zealand that Bartow developed a friendship with Maori artist, John Bevan Ford and learned about the Maori carving tradition. The two artists exchanged traditional tools and ideas. The untitled pole of carved cedar shows the results of that friendship and their sharing of traditions.
The pole is a gift to the Portland metropolitan community from Washington county and the Oregon College of Art and Craft, as a means to heal the controversy that surrounded a urban development project. The pole ingeniously preserves one of the giant cedars from the groove that was removed for the road project. The pole will be a sentinel on the greenway, ever watchful of the urban development. It will be a reminder of reverence for Nature, a respect for native traditions and a marker of local history. The hopes are that this pole will become a "healing" pole for the communities to which it is dedicated.
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