2022 PARRISH ROAD SHOW ARTIST DENISE SILVA-DENNIS
PRESENTS A MURAL DEPICTING THE ANCESTRAL HISTORY
OF SHINNECOCK BAY FOR THE EXHIBITION
“WUNNE OHKE–THE RETURN TO GOOD GROUND”
The mural—at the Sisters of St. Joseph Villa, Hampton Bays—debuts at a public reception Sunday, October 16, 2–4pm; and remains on view indefinitely
Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis. Earlier work by the artist: Sugar Loaf, 2022.
Photos courtesy Denise Silva-Dennis
WATER MILL, 9/22/2022— For the 11th season of the Parrish Art Museum’s offsite exhibition series Parrish Road Show, Shinnecock artist Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis (American, b. 1960) is creating a site-specific outdoor mural depicting the ancestral history of Shinnecock Bay, on view at the Sisters of St. Joseph Villa in Hampton Bays. Opening on Sunday, October 16 with a free public reception from 2–4pm, Wunne Ohke–The Return to Good Ground continues the artist’s life-long practice of inter-generational education and storytelling through the arts. The mural and public programming with the artist’s Shinnecock research collaborators will provide insight into how these ancestral places came to be, how they’ve changed, and what they mean to the Shinnecock people today.
Wunne Ohke is Algonquin for “Good Ground”—the original placename of the Hampton Bays area given by the Shinnecock who first inhabited the region as a residential area. The name describes the smooth “good ground” that allowed ease of launching canoes for whaling. In her mural, Silva-Dennis combines a vibrant re-imagination of the land from pre-colonial times with more recent, significant landmarks in the Shinnecock Nation’s history. Wunne Ohke–The Return to Good Ground considers how Shinnecock efforts to regain ancestral lands and revitalize traditional practices for future generations are implemented and celebrated through art.
Silva-Dennis fully realized her storytelling skills in 1995 with a monumental mural on a 75-foot wall at the Shinnecock Indian Reservation Community Center that depicted Shinnecock history and culture such as agricultural practices, whaling techniques, symbolism of the medicine wheel, the Circassian shipwreck, and contemporary sites on the Shinnecock Reservation. The mural is an affirmation of the artist’s commitment to collaboration with family, friends, and school children painting alongside her, and making themselves a part of the storytelling. Activism has long been a part of Silva-Dennis’ process: She has a rich history of protest poster design and is currently serving on the board of the Niamuck Land Trust and Shinnecock Graves Protection Warrior Society (SGPWS). In her painting Sugar Loaf, 2022, she reflects on the successes and continued goals of grassroots activism for graves protection and Land Back efforts—such as the purchase of the sacred burial site at Sugar Loaf Hill to be preserved and returned to the Shinnecock.
Organized by Corinne Erni, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects, with support from Brianna Hernández, Curatorial Fellow, and in collaboration with the Sisters of St. Joseph, Wunne Ohke–The Return to Good Ground is on view daily beginning October 16, 2022. A free, public reception will take place outdoors at the Sisters of St. Joseph Villa on Sunday, October 16, from 2 to 4 PM, rain date, Sunday, October 30.
Parrish Road Show 2022 | Wunne Ohke–The Return to Good Ground, is made possible, in part, by the generous support of Eastern Scaffolding & Shoring, Inc., Jane Wesman and Donald Savelson, and the Dorothy Lichtenstein ArtsReach Fund established by Agnes Gund.
PARRISH ROAD SHOW 2022
Denise Silva-Dennis: Wunne Ohke–The Return to Good Ground
OPENING RECEPTION: Sunday, October 16, 2-4 pm (rain date Sunday, October 30, 2-4pm)
Outdoors and open to the public daily thereafter
Sisters of St. Joseph Villa | 81 Lynn Ave, Hampton Bays, NY, 11946
The reception and exhibition are free and open to the public.
Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis, Shinnecock Nation Seal: Beaded Cape, 2008.
Photo courtesy the artist
RELATED PROGRAM: ARTIST TALK
NOVEMBER 4, 6 PM
Denise Silva-Dennis with Corinne Erni, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects
Onsite at Parrish Art Museum and livestreamed
Please visit the Museum’s website for COVID guidelines on vaccination/PCR test and other requirements.
Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis
Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis (b. 1960, Riverhead, NY) is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator based in the Shinnecock Nation. A graduate of Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art, she works primarily in acrylic for her figurative paintings and murals, and is an accomplished beadwork craftswoman. The traditional Eastern Woodland style of beadwork was handed down to her from her mother and elder women of the Shinnecock and Hassanamisco-Nipmuc Nations. Silva-Dennis’s work has exhibited at art galleries, museums, libraries, schools, and colleges throughout Long Island and Upstate New York, including at Hamilton College’s Bundy Center and Library.
Sisters of St. Joseph
For more than 169 years the Sisters of Saint Joseph have served the people of Long Island with the goal to foster love, unity, and reconciliation among all people with a focus on the education and empowerment of women. The Sisters of St. Joseph are educators from elementary to the university level, social workers, health care professionals, lawyers, parish ministers, administrators, and spiritual directors. They offer ministries that operate independently at six high schools, a learning program for immigrant women, and a skilled nursing facility.
Parrish Road Show
Parrish Road Show is the Museum’s off-site project designed to encourage engagement and interaction between artists and the communities outside the Museum’s walls. Each year, selected artists work with the Parrish and partner venues to create new work and to provide unique opportunities for visitors to see and experience art in unexpected places, from public parks and highways to historical sites and community centers.
Parrish Art Museum
Inspired by the natural setting and artistic life of Long Island’s East End, the Parrish Art Museum illuminates the creative process and how art and artists transform our experiences and understanding of the world and how we live in it. The Museum fosters connections among individuals, art, and artists through care and interpretation of the collection, presentation of exhibitions, publications, educational initiatives, programs, and artists-in-residence.
The Parrish is a center for cultural engagement, an inspiration and destination for the region,
the nation, and the world.
AAQ / Resource