‘Haametgii’ Pomo art exhibit opens Jan. 7 at Corner Gallery in Ukiah

Read the Ukiah Daily Journal article by Laura Fogg Haametgii is a word from the eastern Pomo language which means “relatives.” And that is the theme of the January show in both of the front windows…

Read the Ukiah Daily Journal article by Laura Fogg

Haametgii is a word from the eastern Pomo language which means “relatives.” And that is the theme of the January show in both of the front windows of the Corner Gallery. In a nutshell, Patricia Ray Franklin, a tribal member from the Scotts Valley band of Pomo Indians and a descendant of Round Valley Indian tribes plus other tribes, will use this prime gallery space to celebrate her family and the rich heritage that comes with it.

Family and art run deep in Patty’s world. She explains, “I lived with my aunt Bonnie Elliot off and on when I was little. She was a basket weaver and a regalia maker, and I made my first basket with her when I was 11 years old.” Another important family member in Patty’s life was her grandmother Bessie Augustine, another great basket weaver. Bessie was deceased before Patty was born, but her influence was felt. Patty explains, “I never knew my grandmother, so the closest traditional person to me was my aunt Bonnie. She is the one who planted the little art seeds in me.”

Patty sees the art that she didn’t start doing until she was in her 30s as a means of coping with hard realities and healing from both historical and present day trauma. She elaborates, “I was a product of historical trauma, but that was my normal. During the pandemic I was able to take classes on healing and wellness in the native community, which really helped me understand what historical trauma is and how it affected my life. I realized that doing cultural art helps me in the healing process. Art became a way of healing for me.”

Patty’s children have also been intertwined with her art and healing trajectory. Her son Joshua had leukemia when he was young, and Patty elaborates, “I never thought at the time that I could do anything creative…I was in survival mode while I was in the hospital with him. I read up on what I could do naturally to help myself through my son’s healing, and learned that I needed to find something that I like. I started beading in the hospital, learning from my brother. That made my shoulders loosen up, and the stress lifted.Even Patty’s son started doing art in the hospital, and it continued after the little boy was released to go home. When he was 6 he didn’t have any sports, so he started taking cultural classes with his mother through the tribal office, something the two of them continue to enjoy doing together to this day. Patty loves that connection, explaining that “It’s all about learning and sharing and keeping the culture alive. Our family is always looking for ways to keep our cultural growing.”

Other family members will be showing their work in the front windows alongside Patty. A niece, Johanna Peters, will show baskets that she has made. Johanna is from the Cloverdale band of Pomo Indians and is also a descendent of Scotts Valley and Round Valley tribes. Patty explains proudly that Johanna, through her art, has been the recipient of the knowledge that “Whenever people learn something they try to give back to the community.”

Sarah Franklin, Patty’s daughter, loves photography and other cultural arts including regalia making, both of which will be represented in the show. Patty’s son Joshua Franklin, now 15, will also contribute a traditional grass game set made with dowels, willow and acrylic, plus regalia that he made himself. Another son of Patty’s, Timothy Franklin, age 17, will be displaying a traditional drum that he created in addition to traditional clapper sticks, which are still used today in ceremonies, grass games and prayer. Patty is especially happy to have this opportunity to do a family collaboration, since Timothy will be leaving soon for college.

One more family member who will be honored in this show is Patty’s beloved mother-in-law, Pearl Ann Kuulani Blogget, who recently passed away. Patty will dedicate the show to the memory of this woman who was a hula dancer, a minister and a mother figure to many people.

The First Friday opening celebration of “Haametgii” will be on Jan. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. The show will run in the Corner Gallery front windows from Jan. 5 through 29. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Masks are required in the gallery at all times