A couple of years ago, I met Mavis Muller at a Rasmuson Foundation Award’s ceremony where she was a recipient of a Artist Fellowship Award.
I am not even sure how we started talking, but once we did, all I could think was, “I MUST get Mavis out to McCarthy, Alaska. I want her to work her magic in our little town.”
Today, on a friend’s Facebook page I saw that Mavis is still conjuring art, and I still need to figure out how to bring her to the banks of the McCarthy Creek.
What does Mavis do? Well, here is what Mavis has to say.
“How fortunate I was to come upon this teaching early in my career as an artist. I was certain that art had a valid place in the movement for social change and environmental protection, these words rang true, and were an invitation to use my art making as activism for the protection and restoration of natural habitat, wild places and sacred sites, and to educate and build community around these ideals.”
“To use art as a means to create the reality of a nurtured, protected Earth. This notion inspires me.”
Mavis works with the communities to build large meaningful baskets woven out of the landscape. Messages are written by community members and then tucked into fibers.
In the end, the giant woven structure is lit on fire and burned away.
Last weekend was Salmonfest, a groovy three day music festival in Ninilchik, Alaska that SOMEDAY I am going to attend.
Every year at Salmonfest, Mavis leads a collaborative effort to create a giant human message about threatened water bodies in Alaska. Here is how she describes her work this year. ( I managed to find several images from previous years which are worth looking at too!)
“In the rodeo arena at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds Ninilchik Alaska, during the Salmonfest music festival, I and worthy assistants arranged hundreds of participants around a central design we created with fabric.
Yellow streamers radiating from the heart bore the names of threatened water bodies of Alaska; Chuitna river, Chuckchi Sea, Cook Inlet, Susitna River, Gulf of Alaska, Prince William Sound, and Bristol Bay.
Our message is that we love wild Alaska Salmon, the waters they thrive in, and the fisheries we depend on.
The resulting picture shows salmon solidarity as we set out to protect what we love. Photo by G. Brad Lewis, pilot Tom Beck. Festival sponsored by Kachemak Bay Conservation Society.”
Thank you Mavis for showing your love in such a big way.
PS Follow Mavis’s work on her artist Facebook page. It’s very cool.