In January 2011, The Bridge partnered with the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection for a three-day artists in residence program with Australian artist Reko Rennie, a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay/Gummaroi man from Melbourne, VIC, and American artist Frank Buffalo Hyde, a Nez Perce/Onondaga man who lives in Pittsburgh. The two artists collaborated on a mural located on the exterior south wall of The Bridge’s facilities. Although the Charlottesville Mural Project was not yet established, this project launched what would become the formalized CMP with the goal of collaborating with artists to create interesting public art around Charlottesville.
Although his father is an artist, Reko Rennie came to his own art practice through contemporary youth culture – hip hop, break dancing, and graffiti. Equally comfortable working in the street or the gallery, Rennie uses stencils and spray paint to produce intricate images addressing themes of identity, justice and tradition. Rennie’s kangaroo, dubbed “Big Red,” is both and a national emblem seen on Australia’s coat of arms, and a symbol of Aboriginal survival.
Frank Buffalo Hyde
Native American artist Frank Buffalo Hyde (Nez Perce/Onondaga) mixes Indian imagery with icons of pop culture, expressing what he calls the “fragmented contemporary life” of a Native American U.S. citizen. Although not a street artist, Hyde incorporates stencils in his paintings on canvas.
Frank and Reko recently collaborated on another mural at the Museum of Contemporary Native Art in Sante Fe, NM.