First Feather Gallery featuring the artwork of the late Dine'h(navajo) artist
Rex A. Begaye is excited to announce our grand opening in the Spring of 2018. We are currently completing our renovations, which have been
(as usual) longer and more challenging than expected, so our opening
is on flex time at the moment...once we are ready we will announce
our Grand Opening date!
The dream of opening up a gallery in Sarasota
has been in the works for many years. In 1998, Rex and I met
and began a 15 year journey together traveling all over the country
doing powwows, fine art shows and Native American art markets.
Rex had been on the powwow circuit full time for many seasons
and was already getting tired of being on the road when I met him.
He often talked about having his own art gallery
and getting off the road.
In 2002 Rex had a heart attack and we considered opening up a gallery,
but once again the road prevailed and the gallery dream
was set on the back burner.
Originally from Grand Canyon, Rex considered Sarasota his second home.
He loved it here and eventually had an opportunity to bring
Native American culture to the area in 2008 by starting the
Sarasota Native American Indian festival. Rex took over a powwow
that the promoters were canceling as they were moving away,
and turned it into a Native fine art and craft festival. His passion and vision
for preserving Native American culture became the foundation
for the Sarasota Native American Indian Festival and Rex
made sure all the artists and vendors were representing authentic
Native culture, not imported exploitation that we witnessed everywhere.
We had the honor of many artists visiting us over the years representing
many mediums of artistry and generations of culture and craftsmanship.
Sarasota being an art town, embraced and supported the festival. Soon,
we had artists coming from all over North America to join us and
share their culture and artistry at the event.
In 2013 Rex walked on leaving a beautiful legacy to uphold both as
an artist and event coordinator for the festival. As his partner
I knew that the only way Rex's artwork would survive is if I
kept it going...but being on the road by yourself is not easy.
The two person job was now on my shoulders alone which tested
my strength and agility intensely.
In 2015 I decided to begin creating the foundation to make a documentary
about the late Rex A. Begaye's fascinating life, so an amateur videotographer, it inspired me to become a film maker and take another journey with Rex...
through the lens of a camera. As an avid photographer and cinematographer
and all out ham in front of a camera, Rex left me dozens of hours of content
to build upon for the film.
The summer of 2015 was spent traveling around the country filming the first
layer of the documentary. My intent was to film the locations that are in Rex's artwork, such as Monument Valley and Flagstaff, creating potential animation transitions from the actual locations. I imagine the viewers being brought right into the painting from the photo image with time lapse and interviews of his friends and family.
My apprenticeship as a film maker had begun.
Upon returning from a 10,000 mile tour filming from Florida to Cleveland,
throughout the Colorado Rockies, Arizona and Grand Canyon,
it became apparent quickly how much was being "bitten off"
and that a second film tour would be necessary to complete the foundation
for the film. The plan was to film the second tour in the summer 2016,
but had unexpected health issues that prevented me from traveling.
The summer of 2017 was my next opportunity to complete the film tour but then the gallery space appeared and before I knew it, I was preparing to open a Native American Art Gallery two blocks from downtown Sarasota art district...amazing!!!
The space was a dog kennel for 14 years prior and all the kennels had to be
deconstructed, which much of the wood is being recycled. Many months later we are still at it. Currently we are completing the details such as painting, lighting and preparing
the floors to be stripped and stained...then we will be ready to open.So now, I begin a new journey with Rex's artwork,
bringing to life this dream of opening a gallery.
It also gives me an opportunity to anchor a place for Native American artists
to present and share their work with the Sarasota community
not just once a year at the festival
but year round in our gallery.
The film is still at the forefront of my mind...
and I'm feeling inspired to begin a short film
to share this extraordinary journey as we open up the gallery.I always thought the film would build the foundation for the
gallery, but it is clearly the other way around.
We are slowly completing the renovations and will
share our grand opening date soon!
To all our family and friends...thank you for your love, support and generosity.
We will keep you posted on our progress~
with love and gratitude