Thursday, August 13, 2020
Camas Prairie Exhibition Speaks to Our Sense of Place
Daniel Gordon’s “Camas in Blue Vase” is among the works that are part of the Sun Valley Museum of Art’s new visual arts exhibition.
Friday, July 10, 2020


The Camas Prairie near Fairfield will get its due when the Sun Valley Museum of Art holds a free opening celebration for its new exhibition “From the Colour of Its Bloom: Camas Prairie” at 5 p.m. tonight—Friday, July 10.

The SVMoA will hold the celebration at The Museum at Fifth and Washington streets in Ketchum. Visitors will be able to enter The Museum in small groups, wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.

The exhibition, which will be on view through Sept. 10, celebrates the Camas Prairie which stretches for more than 15 miles along Highway 20 near Fairfield.

The prairie takes its name from the blue camas lily, which blooms briefly each spring. The Centennial Marsh Wildlife Management Area near Fairfield is home to migrating waterfowl and shore birds and a source of food for the Shoshone and Bannock, who still flock there to harvest the camas lily bulb in early June.

“From the colour of its bloom…(it) resembles lakes of fine clear water,” noted Meriwether Lewis.

The visual arts exhibition will feature the work of five contemporary artists.

“We are especially excited about the commission of Sopheap Pich’s large-scale outdoor sculpture, inspired by the camas lily, which will be an important piece of public art in Ketchum for the next several years, connecting the Wood River Valley to the Camas Prairie,” said Kristin Poole, artistic director at SVMoA.

Artists are:

  • Derek No-Sun Brown (Shoshone-Bannock, Klamath and Ojibwe), who grew up on the Fort Hall Reservation in eastern Idaho and the Boise Forte Reservation in northern Minnesota. The exhibition includes Brown’s painting of camas harvesting, made as part of a collaborative project between SVMoA and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to create new signage for Centennial Marsh. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to take a poster of the new signage with them when they leave

 Judith Freeman, who lives outside Fairfield with her husband photographer Anthony Hernandez. She is a fifth-generation Westerner and the author of two nonfiction books and five novels. SVMoA commissioned Freeman to write an essay responding to the social history of the prairie.

  • Daniel Gordon, who works with digital photography, sculpture, paint and vinyl, combining his interest in the history of landscape and still-life painting with his desire to explore organic forms using layers of collaged imagery. SVMoA has commissioned Gordon to create a room-sized installation in response to the palette and ecosystem of the prairie.
  • MK Guth, who engages rituals of social interaction, using her art to bring people together in cultural conversation. Her sculptures combine books, objects and written instructions for different kinds of events that involve the preparation and sharing of food and drink. SVMoA commissioned Guth to create a new artwork and an interactive public art project that responds to the camas lily and its history.
  • Anthony Hernandez, who has divided his time between Los Angeles and the Camas Prairie for nearly 20 years. Hernandez has created new photographs of prairie landscapes and structures shot through mesh screens. The screens partially obscure our view of the prairie, adding a layer of abstraction to images that invite viewers to consider our visual experience of a place.
  • Sopheap Pich, who has created several bodies of work in response to the social and political history of flowers, including the morning glory, which his family used as a source of nutrition during the Khmer Rouge period in Cambodia. Working with natural materials such as bamboo, rattan, metal and stone, Pich creates sculptural works on a variety of scales. SVMoA commissioned Pich to create a large outdoor sculpture inspired by the camas lily, which he designed for a site in central Ketchum. Pich’s outdoor sculpture will be located at 551 N. 1st Avenue in Ketchum, just down the street from The Museum.

 The exhibition also includes hands-on activities for learners of all ages in the Art Lab and a short video of interviews with members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes about their history with and contemporary relationship to the Camas Prairie.

 Free Evening Exhibition Tours will be offered at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 23, and at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20.

 The exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Private tours for families and small groups are also available. To schedule, call The Museum at 208-726-9491.



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