Check out traditional Polynesian dancer Novelyn Tavita on the Oregon Culture Keepers Roster.
Watch TAAP Master Artist Jayanthi Raman (2015) and her apprentice Bakul Godbole demonstrate Bharatha Natyam Indian Dance.
OFN is pleased to announce that Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (2013) master artist Esther Stutzman received a prestigious 2017 Lifetime Achievement Governor’s Art Award for her work in Oregon as a traditional Kalapuya/Coos storyteller. OFN nominated her for the 2017 Governor’s Art Awards, Oregon’s highest honor for exemplary service to the arts, which Gov. Brown revitalized after a 10-year hiatus. Ms. Stutzman was recognized during a ceremony that preceded the 2017 Oregon Arts Summit on Oct. 6, in Portland.
In addition to being a 2012 Oregon Folklife Network TAAP awardee, Esther Stutzman (Kalapuya/Coos) is the primary storyteller for Mother Earth’s Children, an American Indian theatre group that has performed for school assemblies and a variety of events and conferences for the past 42 years. Stutzman also works with Title VII Indian Education programs and Arts in Education Programs throughout the state of Oregon as a cultural resource specialist with children as well as with teacher in-service programs. She has been a long-time presenter for the Oregon Chautauqua History Series and is a recipient of several folklife awards formerly administered by the Oregon Historical Society. She recently shared her Tribes’ Mother Wolf and Coyote stories at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History in Eugene for their Wolf Talks celebration.
Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim is master Palestinian embroiderer. Born in the city of Safad in northern Palestine, her family fled to Syria and Jordan in 1948. After attending boarding school in Ramalla West Bank, Abbasi-Ghnaim returned to Syria to attend Damascus University, where she majored in art history. In 1980, her family immigrated to the United States. Abbasi-Ghnaim has dedicated herself to practicing and teaching her traditional craft. She has lectured and taught about Palestinian traditions at the University of Massachusetts, the Oral History Center of Cambridge, Portland State University, and Lewis and Clark College. She has collaborated with the World Affairs Council of Oregon and the Middle East Studies Center to participate in the “Teach the Middle East” forum, a set of workshop designed to train youth and K-12 educators about Middle East culture and arts. Since 2000, Abbasi-Ghnaim has taught workshops and classes in public schools in Beaverton, Milwaukie, Gresham, and Portland.
Palestinian embroidery features minute cross-stitching, most easily compared to counted cross-stitch. But the craft involves much more than a decorative art; stitches and design combine to tell stories with colors, symbols, and patterns. Abbasi-Ghnaim continues a centuries-old tradition that Palestinian women have employed to record their cultural observations. As Abbasi-Ghnaim explains, “Embroidery is the unwritten language transferring stories from woman to woman in silence. Needle and thread are the tools for documenting the history of their lives … The stories behind the patterns, the colors of the thread, and the fashion of traditional Palestinian dress are just as important as learning the cross-stitch and is something that can only be preserved through teaching and mentoring the younger generations.”
Abbasi-Ghnaim earned Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program awards with Oregon Folklife Network in 2012, 2014, and 2018 and worked extensively with the OFN’s predecessor folk and traditional arts programs in prior years.
To learn more about Feryal, check out her daughter’s book, Tatreez and Tea: https://tatreezandtea.com/
Obo Addy (January 15, 1936-September 13, 2012), Ghanaian Drumming, Portland (Multnomah), 2012
Obo Addy was a dynamic musician, generous teacher, and gifted composer. The son of a Ga wonche (medicine man), Addy was designated a master drummer at the age of six in Accra, Ghana. His life’s work was to share his culture through music, dance, and drum.
During childhood, he recalled, “I was constantly surrounded by … drumming, dancing, and singing …. My siblings and I listened, observed, and helped as needed when my father performed various spiritual ceremonies and rites. From these proceedings I learned about the power of music, drumming, and rhythms. In rituals, I first learned to play bell. Later, I was allowed to play drums. In between these events and lessons with my father, I played on my own and with other musicians at social gatherings in town. As a small boy, I knew that I wanted to be musician.”
In 1969, the Arts Council of Ghana employed Addy as a Ga master of the national music. He and his brothers performed at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and toured internationally until Addy moved to Portland, Oregon. Addy was one of the first native African musicians to bring worldbeat (a fusion of traditional folk music and Western pop music) to the west. In 1978, he and his wife, Susan Addy, created Homowo African Arts and Cultures to promote Ghanaian music. Addy, who taught at Lewis and Clark College, created programs and curriculum to demonstrate the connections between African and African American music and dance, which he taught and performed around the United States.
In 1996, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Obo Addy a National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor a traditional artist can receive in the United States. His numerous recordings include Wonche Bi (2002) and Afieye Okropong (2003), released on the Alula label. In 2011, Homowo became the Obo Addy Legacy Project to further honor his contributions.
To learn more about the Obo Addy Legacy Project, check out their website: http://oboaddylegacyproject.org/
Portland-based Hip-Hop artist Mic Crenshaw and his apprentice Baqi Coles, recipients of a 2015-2016 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program award.
By Brad McMullen
The Oregon Folklife Network is proud to announce six new 2016 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP) awardees! These extraordinary master traditional artists and culture keepers exhibit excellence in their abilities, and a passion to pass on their knowledge, skills, and expertise. TAAP provides a stipend to these master artists to teach a promising apprentice from their own community, Tribe, or cultural, religious, or occupational group.
This year’s TAAP teams will be working a range of traditional skills, from traditional rawhide braiding to dentalium shell piecework to Tazhib.
Marjan Anvari (Lake Oswego, OR) is a master of traditional Tazhib (gilding), Persian illumination patterns. She will be teaching her apprentice the finer points of this ancient cultural art, which involves adorning the margins of books with beautiful patterns of plants or geometrical shapes with gold as well as colors like azure, blue, green, vermilion, and turquoise.
Jack Armstrong (Lakeview, OR) is a cowboy and master rawhide braider. Armstrong will be working with his apprentice to create tightly and evenly braided gear and a variety of decorative “buttons.”
Jose Antonio Huerta (Springfield, OR) is a master of Mexican cowboy (charro) horseback rope work. This is his second TAAP award for which he will once again be teaching charrería (rope work and riding).
Roberta Kirk (Warm Springs, OR) is a master shell dress maker of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation. For this second TAAP award, Kirk will be teaching her apprentice the specifics of dentalium (shell) piecework.
Hossein Salehi (Beaverton, OR), founder of the ArtMax Academy, is a master musician who plays the Santoor (trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer-like string musical instrument). Salehi will will be helping his apprentice to refine his musical skills.
Nisha Joshi (Portland) is an internationally celebrated performer of classical Rajasthani Indian music, and one of OFN’S 2012 TAAP awardees. The Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program provided the necessary funding for Joshi to pass along the lesser known Rajasthani Folk Music to her apprentice, Shivani Joshi.