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Forest of Dreams: Celebrating Commonalities of Native Cultures

Photo by: Jonathan Ley

The Forest of Dreams: Ainu and Native American Woodcarving exhibition celebrates the commonalities of native cultures from both sides of the Pacific Ocean, showing that we are more alike than we are different.

Forest of Dreams, the latest Art in the Garden exhibition at Portland Japanese Garden (Pavilion and Tanabe Galleries from June 8 – July 21) highlights those commonalities and explores the shared aesthetic expressions of native cultures on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

Tetsuya Iwasaki Courtesy of Nibutani Folk Handicraft Association (Ainu)

The woodcarvings honor the artistic contributions of both the Tribes of The Columbia River Basin and the native Ainu people of Hokkaido to reflect both cultures’ deep respect for nature.

Hokkaido Connection

Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island and home to the native Ainu.

This exhibition celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the Portland and Sapporo sister-city relationship.

Monumental carved planks called Power Boards, which include layered symbolism of the respective cultures, have been commissioned from artists on both sides of the Pacific and will be installed on the Overlook.

Additional carved pieces will be on display in the Tanabe and Pavilion Galleries. Ainu artists include the late Takeki Fujito, as well as carvers Mamoru Kaizawa and Toru Kaizawa. Columbia River Basin artists include Greg Archuleta, Tony Johnson, Bobby Mercier, Travis Stewart, and Greg A. Robinson.

Both the native Ainu and Columbia River peoples have relationships to their ancestral homelands and, therefore, their artistic expressions reveal strong spiritual connections as acolytes and stewards of the natural world.

An ambitious array of associated programming from both cultures will include carving demonstrations, lectures, storytelling, and musical and dance performances during the opening weekend (June 8-9).

This exhibition is made possible with the support of NW Natural, the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, Don Vallaster, Corinne Oishi, and Lindley Morton.

To view the entire news release, click here.

Erica Heartquist, Communication Manager
Portland Japanese Garden