Long before being sequestered at home meant lounging on a sofa or investing in a good internet connection, some ancient humans on the stirrup-shaped island of Sulawesi, now part of Indonesia, decided to make some art in their free time. They etched familiar things—the sun, a local bovine critter—into the stones they found. Now, 20,000 years on, those innocent little doodles are taking on newfound meaning as the first tiny figurative artworks found in the region.
“Small portable artworks … are something archeologists in this region have been searching for for a long time,” says Michelle Langley, a research fellow at Griffith University’s Research Centre for Human Evolution and the lead author of a new paper describing the find. “We now know it was just that we hadn’t dug enough.”
The 11th-largest island in the world, Sulawesi punches above its weight when it comes to ancient art. An isle peppered with volcanoes and mountains at its center, sloping into jungle and beaches on its perimeter, Sulawesi’s topography has allowed ancient remains to be preserved into the present day.
In the past few months, the island has been flipping the script on continental Europe, where most famous ancient artworks have been found. In December 2019, another group of researchers described ancient cave art that dates back farther than the famous cave murals in Lascaux, France, and Altamira, Spain.
The new paper, published in the journal Nature: Human Behavior, describes two engraved plaquettes—literally “small plaques”—found buried in a pile of ancient trash. One plaquette is carved in flowstone and depicts an anoa, a small cousin of the cow (now endangered) that is unique to Sulawesi. The other—an oval carved into the center of a piece of limestone, with lines emanating from it—resembles a celestial body. The anoa plaquette, the researchers say, is the first bas-relief found outside Europe.
While the “sunburst” plaquette was identifiable from the off, the subtler incisions on the anoa plaquette—which is a bit deteriorated, if you can believe it, from its 20 millennia in a Sulawesian rock shelter—had to be put under some high-quality lighting to be discerned.
“At first I thought I might be seeing things, though I became more convinced the more I looked,” Langley says. “We were pretty excited about the identification of an engraved animal—we knew it was a first.”
The ancient Indonesian artworks are pint-sized, akin to ancient European figurines—probably so that they were easily portable for the residents of Pleistocene Sulawesi. The presence of such mini-works moves the needle of archaeological equity a bit, by highlighting that early groups in Southeast Asia worked on art projects similar to their European contemporaries.
“We hope that people are able to appreciate and celebrate the similarities and diversities of our first cultures and communities the world over,” Langley says. “People 20,000 years ago were doing some pretty interesting and amazing things in Africa, in Europe, in Asia, and in Australia. We are only just scratching the surface of the complexity of people living back then.”
Arts council announces changes in staff and in ways to share art with the community – Columbia Valley Pioneer
Submitted by Columbia Valley Arts Council
New executive director
The Columbia Valley Arts Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Sami Wackerle (pictured) as executive director.
Sami’s past work experience as the program director of the Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre will be a great asset to the arts council and its members. One of Canmore’s great destinations, the museum offers a variety of collections, programs and opportunities for residents and visitors “that celebrate mountain life.”
In addition to her experiences in the not-for-profit sector in support of the museum’s board of directors, her specific duties included volunteer recruitment and management, community and school programming, event organization and delivery, partnership development, website development and marketing/communications. Sami also worked with their collections department on exhibit design – often with complementary programming to encourage community connections to new exhibits. And she has had specific experiences in the upkeep of historic buildings, attending to Canmore’s 1893 North-West Mounted Police Barracks Building. So Sami is delighted to know that she will have an office within our wonderful Pynelogs Centre, and also play a significant role in its stewardship.
Sami has also worked for Parks Canada, having spent her university years as a volunteer mentor in an online graphic design community, and has recently returned to these roots to do marketing and promotion for a few of her artist friends.
On a personal note, Sami has achieved one of her life goals by being able to move to the Columbia Valley! She has visited the area many times and will be on a mission to explore the East Kootenays one back road at a time. Since her interests include hiking, snowboarding and kayaking, we know that she will find the transition here to be an easy one (COVID-19 notwithstanding). We can’t wait to show her more of the amazing resources of our valley – and most importantly – introduce her to the wonderful people who live and visit here. Sami began her position here on March 30.
New assistant gallery curator
Kate Goldie moved to Invermere from New Brunswick in 2006 and quickly fell in love with the incredible area she now calls home. As an emerging artist, she is excited to be working so closely with the arts in such a fantastic setting!
When she’s not at work, Kate can be found painting and enjoying time in nature with her two toddlers.
Departing executive director
Jami Scheffer has been at Columbia Valley Arts (CV Arts) for over 15 years. She has built CV Arts with a number of boards from a small organization to one that brings live music to the valley on a regular basis and a multitude of art shows and events. We have Love It Live, the Invermere Music Festival, Fresh Fridays for those just starting out in the music world, as well as an open mike on Fridays with OSO. Jami has also started many art shows from Little Peeps to Art from the Heart and shows that run regularly for mature artists.
Jami has been instrumental in leading the CV Arts programs to where they are today. She will be missed by the past and the current board as well as the people in the valley who enjoy the wonderful events that have been organized by her at CV Arts. Her knowledge has developed over the past years as her experience has grown, and we are grateful for the years that she has dedicated to CV Arts. She has loved it and it has shown through her professionalism and hard work; it has been her baby.
We wish Jami the very best in her adventures on Bowen Island. She will be a huge asset to any arts council she joins. Good luck Jami and remember to come and visit this beautiful valley!
How to get creative and enjoy the arts during self-isolation and COVID-19
Pynelogs Cultural Centre will remain closed for the foreseeable future. All upcoming events are currently cancelled. Where possible we will be reintroducing these events online. Our gallery is also shifting online. Our first show Art from the Heart will be available to view soon.
We know that many of you now have a lot of extra unplanned and unexpected time on your hands, so in addition to making the switch to digital, our new staff have also started assembling a collection of creative resources and challenges to help you stay occupied. We’ll be posting links to a variety of puzzles, games, and activities designed to help keep you out of trouble right now. The first activities featured are a Pynelogs history crossword and word search. Check out the activities at: https://www.columbiavalleyarts.com/creative-activities/
We’ll also be featuring a daily Stay Home Creative Challenge on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. There’ll be everything from fashion shows, to dances, date night ideas, and drawing challenges to keep you feeling inspired one day of social distancing at a time!
Interested in creating something to share with the community? Please contact Sami at email@example.com
Art of Gardening Art of Gardening — Early Spring Veggie Planting – CFJC Today Kamloops
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Art in the Time of COVID-19: Burnaby artists invited to share stories – Burnaby Now
Calling all artists: The Burnaby Arts Council wants to hear your stories of creativity.
The arts council is conducting an Art in the Time of COVID-19 campaign, and it’s asking for submissions from local artists and creative folks.
Artists are invited to record a video and share the thoughts running through their mind as an artist. All mediums are welcome – visual, spoken, musical and more.
“By being confined at home with limited social interactions, how has your creative process changed? Has it stayed the same? Either way, we want to know,” said a call to artists on the arts council’s website. “Our gallery may be closed, but that won’t stop the sharing of art. In fact, in this digital era, it may even mean new possibilities to bring the arts to our community.”
The arts council will be collecting submissions and sharing them with the community via social media channels (Facebook and Instagram).
Check out all the details at https://burnabyartscouncil.org/news/creativity-chronicles-art-in-isolation/
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