phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
Discover: Rainmaker Gallery
Image Credit: Hannah Farthing
Discover: Rainmaker Gallery

Discover: Rainmaker Gallery

23 December 2016 | Hudi Charin

We take a look at one of Bristol’s unique attractions, Rainmaker Gallery – a gallery dedicated to the promotion of Native American art and culture.

Rainmaker Gallery sells jewellery and art imported from contemporary Native American artists. Through talks and exhibitions, the gallery attempts to educate and encourage cultural awareness. From paintings to photographs, from Heishe beads to Pendelton Blankets, a wide range of pieces are on offer.
 
Founded by Joanne Prince twenty-five years ago, Rainmaker Gallery aims to challenge our preconceptions of Native American cultures. There are hundreds of distinct, unique cultures that are encompassed under the label “Native American” – a label that often falls victim to the same reductive stereotype. Prince started as an educator and was shocked at how often people misunderstood this distinction. She found it hard to breakdown these preconceptions, which had often been entrenched from childhood. Through art, however, Prince displays a fascinating alternative to the image of a basic, primitive people we are too often supplied.
 
As small as it is, Rainmaker provides a doorway from the bustling highstreets of North Bristol into another world. This is a place where rocks are transformed into animals that represent creation and life. This is a place where handmade dolls are infused with character and represent hundreds of unique deities. This is place where coral and shells become cherished jewels instilled with meaning.


Photo Credit: Hudi Charin
 
Despite these connections to ‘other worldliness’, however, Rainmaker is careful to remind the viewer that these people are contemporary artists, dealing with very real and very present issues. A recent exhibition, Still, displayed the work of Cara Romero, whose hugely powerful photographs show figures suspended in water. Prince has described her as ‘one of the most important Native artists today.’ Originating from the Chemehuevi Valley in the Mojave desert, Romero conveys the fragile and fundamental relationship her tribe have with their valuable water sources. In provocative pieces such as ‘Oil Boom’, she explores this and also hints at the industries that threaten these water supplies.
 
Other works are perhaps less challenging, but just as compelling. Nocona Burgess—a member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma and descendent of one of the most respected leaders, Chief Quanah Parker—seamlessly creates portraits that explore his cultural heritage and yet reference Pop Art. Other artists combine traditional mediums with art inspired by graffiti. These graphic works remind us how current Native American cultures are. Next year, a new exhibition will present Native American women in art, as an alternative to the out-dated, stereotypical views all too frequently advanced in main-stream media depictions, such as in Disney’s Pocahontas.
 
For lovers of culture, it is so powerful to be able to re-evaluate misconceptions through the medium of art. Bristolians are lucky to have this small outlet of such wide-ranging artworks. It is both important and a pleasure to experience the rich heritage of Native Americans and the beautiful, thought-provoking, political, complex art they continue to produce today.

Find out more about Rainmaker Gallery through their website.

Tell us what you think

You may also like

An Art Lover’s Guide to British Gardens

An Art Lover’s Guide to British Gardens

Nature and the artist have always been familiar bedfellows. From the waterlily paintings of Monet to Matisse’s infamous 19th century paper cut-outs, gardens have borne the…

A Culture Calling Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe 2017

A Culture Calling Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe 2017

It’s here! Every August the incomparable Edinburgh Festival takes root in the Scottish capital, bringing with it hundreds of thousands of performers, critics, musicians, comedians, dancers…

Come Rain or Shine: Weatherproof Fun in Bristol

Come Rain or Shine: Weatherproof Fun in Bristol

Known to be one of the wettest cities in Britain, if you're planning a day out in Bristol, you need to come prepared. Fortunately, we've…

British Science Festival 2017 Comes to Brighton!

British Science Festival 2017 Comes to Brighton!

Europe’s longest-standing science festival will take place in Brighton for 2017.

Win a Family Ticket and Lunch!

Museum of Army Flying - Win a Family Ticket and Lunch!

Win a family ticket for two adults and three children to visit the Museum of Army Flying plus lunch in the Apache Café!

Top 5 One Woman Shows at the Fringe 2017

Top 5 One Woman Shows at the Fringe 2017

The Edinburgh Fringe kicked off on August 4, with previews from August 2. Here's our pick of this year's best one-woman shows heading to the…

24 hours in Easton, Bristol

24 hours in Easton, Bristol

Easton is one of Bristol’s most vibrant districts. Home to a wealth of independent shops, world cuisine and a burgeoning music scene, this cultural hotpot is…

A Theatre-lover’s Guide to Brighton

A Theatre-lover’s Guide to Brighton

There’s many a hidden gem to be found in the narrow, winding streets of Brighton’s North and South Lanes, and the wider boulevards that run throughout…

An Interview with Tessa Lynch

An Interview with Tessa Lynch

Tessa Lynch is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work is inspired by the idea of the city as a living, breathing entity, and how we as…

24 hours in Margate

24 hours in Margate

A short commute from the capital, Margate’s wealth of independent shops and cafes make it a popular getaway for Londoners hoping to get a bit of…

Most popular

A Book Lover’s Tour of Literary Britain

A Book Lover’s Tour of Literary Britain

From Shakespeare’s Stratford to the city that birthed The Boy who Lived, we have compiled the essential must-see destinations for literary lovers.
Win Two Tickets to the Event of your Choice!

Shoreham Wordfest - Win Two Tickets to the Event of your Choice!

Fancy expanding your literary imagination? Or perhaps sourcing inspiration for your great novel? We are giving away two tickets to the event of your choosing at this year’s Shoreham Wordfest!  
A Culture Calling Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe 2017

A Culture Calling Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Every August the incomparable Edinburgh Festival takes root in the Scottish capital, bringing with it hundreds of thousands of performers, critics, musicians, comedians. Read on for our guide to some of the shows to look out for.
An Interview with Tessa Lynch

An Interview with Tessa Lynch

We speak to the seminal artist about her upcoming performance at Bristol's Spike Island
A Falafel Lover’s Guide to Bristol

A Falafel Lover’s Guide to Bristol

Now that we've all agreed that falafels are the best food to grace the earth, we've compiled a list of the best spots to indulge in these cheeky little chickpea chappies.
An Interview: Mischief and Madness in Moominvalley

An Interview: Mischief and Madness in Moominvalley

Moomin mania is coming to Bristol. We speak to Bristol-based collective Lost and Found on their performance.
A Hungover Guide to Bristol

A Hungover Guide to Bristol

Feeling last night's pint a little too much? No fear, we've made a list of the best hangover spots in Bristol.
Review: Secret Garden Party 2017

Review: Secret Garden Party 2017

Sarah Fortescue looks back at 15 years of one of Britain's best festivals, Secret Garden Party.
Top 5 Botanic Gardens in the UK

Top 5 Botanic Gardens in the UK

Educational, exciting and beautiful to look at, if you’re looking for some horticultural inspiration, a green haven amongst the city hubbub or an exciting expedition for the family then take a look through our round-up of the UK’s best botanic gardens
Top 5 Roasts in Kendal

Top 5 Roasts in Kendal

We’ve done the groundwork and selected the most delectable roast dinners available in Kendal – a place that offers so much more than its namesake Mint Cake.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!