Continuing to build on its reputation as a cultural and arts hub on the North Fork, Peconic Landing hosted its first ever artist-in-residence this month in partnership with the Watermill Center, an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities on the South Fork.
Shinnecock tribal member and artist Jeremy Dennis spent two weeks at Peconic Landing, using his time to explore and photograph indigenous and sacred locations, historical landscapes and archaeological sites located across the North Fork.
Dennis, 27, who was born and raised on the Shinnecock reservation in Southampton, studied studio art at Stony Brook and photography at Penn State. His interest in Native American culture was sparked in graduate school and he has spent the past several years reinforcing his cultural identity, photographing and documenting significant and sacred sites.
“I learned from other indigenous artists that you have to go back to your roots to find out what you really need to do,” he said. “I combine my passion for photography with my own personal history. That’s how the project came about.”
Dennis will present his research-based art and photography project, “On This Site: The Indigenous People of Suffolk County,” at Peconic Landing on Friday, Nov. 17.
During his residency, Dennis held two workshops on creating Native American dreamcatchers — hoops with feathers, beads and string that are hung near a bed or window to allow good dreams to pass through and to catch and destroy bad dreams.
Several students from Greenport High School attended yesterday’s workshop along with a half dozen residents of Peconic Landing.
“I think they really enjoyed the project,” said Dennis. “And they all left with a completed dreamcatcher. Maybe they will all have good dreams from now on.”
The “On This Site” presentation will be held at the Peconic Landing Theater on Friday, Nov. 17 at 4 p.m.
SoutholdLOCAL photos by Katharine Schroeder