Karen Goodfellow's art work will be on display through the month at Ranger Station Art Gallery.

Goodfellow’s gourds recreate ghost shirts

Native American history comes to life with artist's work

Karen Goodfellow’s most recent work is on display at the Ranger Station Art Gallery this month, in a show titled Total Eclipse of the Sun.

This will be the third time the Burnaby artist has shown at the gallery, and she’s looking forward to discussing her art at the reception, to be held Sunday, August 19 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Her focus lately has been on the historical ‘ghost dance shirts’ worn by some Native American tribes in the late 1800s.

During the colonization of Lakota Sioux, it became a ritual to wear these shirts which were believed to be spiritually powerful.

Natives would go on vision quests, Goodfellow explains. “As they got their vision of what their part was … they would put that on their shirts.”

As an artist, she has created shirts with a medium called Paverpol, added designs to them and wrapped them around gourds.

Using gourds is something she has done in the past, as can be seen on her website but these new Ghost Shirts have not yet been seen.

Goodfellow doesn’t post her work until it has been shown, and they are being unveiled at the Ranger Station this weekend.

The show’s title, Total Eclipse of the Sun, refers to the dark times that were colonization, she says.

“I’m not saying it was easy; they certainly felt some darkness,” she says. But it eventually was over.

“I’m reminded of the saying ‘this too shall pass,'” she says.

When Goodfellow isn’t creating art, she’s working at a number of other callings.

She is a group facilitator and coordinator, a registered professional counsellor and also practices cranial sacral therapy out of her Burnaby home.

“I do all of it part time,” she said, taking clients in the morning, maybe working on art in the afternoon, and leading group sessions in the evenings, for example.

“It has taken 35 years to figure out I’m not a full-time gal,” she says, laughing.

Meet Goodfellow and see her work at Ranger Station this Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This weekend is also the passing of the torch from one artist in residence to the next. Aaron Moran will be leaving his post at the Ranger Station, and Siobhan Humston will move in.

“It’s a big day for us all,” says Rosa Quintana, the art gallery’s director.

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