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Jules Tavernier and the Elem Pomo

Jules Tavernier and the Elem Pomo explores the intercultural exchange between French-born and trained American artist Jules Tavernier (1844–1889) and the Indigenous Pomo community of Elem at Clear Lake in northern California.

Investigating Tavernier’s life and career, the exhibition is centered around his rediscovered masterwork Dance in a Subterranean Roundhouse at Clear Lake, California (1878), which depicts a ceremonial dance of the Elem Pomo known as mfom Xe, or “people dance,” in an underground roundhouse. Commissioned by San Francisco’s leading banker, Tiburcio Parrott, as a gift for his Parisian business partner, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the work celebrates the rich vitality of Elem Pomo culture, while also exposing the threat posed by White settlers, including Parrot, who was then operating a toxic mercury mine on the community’s ancestral homelands. Staple bound, 48 pages.

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