trading Post 1633 - What is a trading Post?
The general term for Trading Post as defined by Cambridge Oxford, "a small place, especially in the past, far from other places in which people live, where goods can be bought and sold or exchanged". However, for me, a Trading Post is not limited or restricted to the aforementioned definition. I was born in Hartford, CT, a Trading Post established by the Dutch in early 17th century, circa 1633. Early America had various kinds of Trading Posts, some well documented that remain today and others that were temporal, vague and sadly forgotten. Also, the historical world has birthed and raised various kinds of Trading Posts. The many Dutch Trading Posts and Dutch participation in the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the Abolitionist movement are significant to my communal ancestry as an African American, raised in New England now residing in the South. The combined history and experiences of these regions, have provoked divergent feelings, experiences and inquires for me prompting a deeper consideration of who, what, where, why and how a Trading Post can exist. This examination has taken me to unexpected places and provided new creative opportunities and ideas.
This idea lead to a proposal for an exhibition for NCECA (National Council for the Education for Ceramics Arts) Claytopia 2019 in Minneapolis, MN. I wanted to know what kind of Trading Post I could create artistically, informed by my curiosity and research on historical Trading Posts. Beginning with the historical trading post of the city of Hartford, Ct, I identified other Trading Posts throughout history. Most significant, out of several Trading Posts I researched that informed the development of this proposal, are the Dijema Trading Post in Japan and the Mille Lacs Indian Trading Post of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Onamia, MN.
trading post: exchange and sojourn at Northern Clay Center, NCECA 2019
The exhibition, I curated, Trading Post: Exchange and Sojourn, opened March 8th at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Mn in the Emily Galusha Gallery. The participating artists: Monica Bock, Undine Brod, Dawn Holder, Jill Foote-Hutton and myself, Chotsani Elaine Dean.
The artists, by way of their works, sojourn from the space of their lone outposts, creating a central Trading Post. Their work, their ‘goods’ hold significant parts of themselves, critical ideas, varied processes and numerous aspirations to exchange with not only one another but with a diverse undetermined audience of viewers. An audience that will view, evaluate and interpret the work in the gallery space.