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Exploring the Meaning of Kinship
Monday, October 4, 2021


Artist Marie Watt, whose massive cedar sculpture of a she-wolf is on display at the Sun Valley Museum of Art, will discuss her work at a free talk at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, at the Sun Valley Museum of Art in Ketchum.

She will be joined by Ketchum author Sarah Sentilles.

The two will discuss their explorations of “companion species,” which is the title Watt gave to her work.   And they will discuss what counts as family and kinship.

“What would the world look like if we lived as if we were all related?” asked Sentilles.

Those who attend the talk in person must wear a face mask and provide proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The discussion will also be livestreamed on Crowdcast.

Watt, a citizen of the Seneca Nation, is a nationally known artist whose work encompassing blankets, wood and metal explores the intersection of history, storytelling and community. The 3,800-pound cedar sculpture that appears in the Museum’s current exhibition exploring the human relationship with wilderness, looks at the contradictions between the human relationship to wildlife and the stories we tell about creatures who live in the wilderness.

“I am interested in how an underbelly is both the soft fleshy vulnerable part of a body, but also how it is associated with dark hidden areas,” she said of her sculpture titled “Companion Species: Underbelly.” “Lately, I have been reflecting on dogs—canis familiaris—as pets, mythological guides and first teachers. ‘Companion Species’ addresses the reciprocal relationship humans have with canines throughout history, this story is one of ignorance, stewardship and reciprocity.”

Sentilles’ most recent book, “Stranger Care: A Memoir of Loving What Isn’t Ours,” was published by Random House in May 2021 and tells the story of Sentilles’ and her husband’s experience as parents in the foster care system. Throughout the book, she offers readers glimpses of kinship and family structures in the natural world among trees, birds and fish, inviting readers to rethink the human act of kinship.

“This conversation promises to be expansive and fascinating,” said The Museum’s Artistic Director Kristin Poole. “Both Marie and Sarah see art as a way to better understand and celebrate the world but also view it as a tool for community building and positive, effective change. We are delighted to be hosting this dialogue.”

While the talk is free, pre-registration is required at  or by calling 208-726-9491. To see the talk via Crowdcast, register at


The Sun Valley Museum of Art’s Nov. 5 concert featuring Paula Fuga and her band has been cancelled because of COVID. Fuga decided to cancel all performance tours outside her state of Hawaii for the time being because of the increasing concerns about travel due to the unpredictability of the COVID-19 virus.


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