Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Art & Culture: Building One Fire by Chadwick Contassel Smith and Rennard Strickland

Building One Fire (University of Oklahoma Press) is an astonishing and illuminating book. Bringing together the culture, art and philosophy of the Cherokee Nation in a single volume, Building One Fire celebrates the memory of the Cherokee people while creating a permanent record of their art, recollections and teachings.
Like Native people in the past, we are able to use such things as the turning of the seasons to understand ourselves. We can do this because the universe in all its splendor and complexity is reflected within our own beings.
While much of the art included in this beautifully produced book is contemporary, the 200 pieces of art by 80 artists speak to the meaning of being Cherokee today. For the rest of us it provides a rare and well curated glimpse into a world most of us have seen all too little of. ◊

Lincoln Cho is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in the Chicago area where he works in the high tech industry. He is currently working on a his first novel, a science fiction thriller set in the world of telecommunications.



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