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Jemila Hart: Celilo Falls Monotypes

June 4, 2011


My colleague Jemila Hart, who is a fellow board member of the Flight 64 print studio in Portland, recently had a show in the space of a series of monotypes she created about the drowning of Celilo Falls by the Dalles Dam. She produced a gorgeous and evocative set of images; I thought them appropriate to upload here. Click through for the full set and for her artist statement regarding the works.

On Sunday March 10th, 1957, the floodgates of the newly built Dalles Dam on the Columbia River were shut. In the course of that afternoon Celilo Falls was inundated and became what is now known as Lake Celilo. Celilo Falls was one of the most important river fisheries in the world,
For the nearby settlement of Celilo village and the numerous tribes that fished the falls, the loss was incomprehensible. The area had been a gathering place and trading center for Native Americans for more than 10,000 years. For the loss of the fishery the US government compensated each enrolled Celilo Indian with $3750.
A narrative of progress in the region spurred the construction of dams on the Columbia; a narrative that said that the “wasted” energy of a naturally flowing river should be harnessed for the greater good of bringing jobs to the region and light to the common man.
Many who experienced Celilo Falls spoke of the roar of the river as it rushed and fell and how this was replaced by a great silence, broken now only by the steady rumble of traffic on nearby Interstate 84.
The prints in this series are monotypes. They are created by applying layers of ink to a piece of plexiglass and then transferring them to paper through the use of a printing press.



Saving Change

Celilo Falls

Your Darkness to Dawn: March 10th, 1957

Waiting for Celilo

The New Horizon

Environment & ClimateHistoryIndigenous Resistance

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