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They Painted in the Canyons – The First Artists in Utah

Craig Law at the Holy Ghost Panel

Craig Law at the Holy Ghost Panel

Before the first European Americans came to live in Utah during the 19th Century.    Before the first Spanish Priests journeyed through eastern Utah in the late 18th Century.    Before the arrival, some four hundred years earlier, of the Ute People and even     before the Pueblo Cliff Dwellers, whose ancestors pushed into southern Utah about two thousand years ago.   Before all these humans came to Utah — scattered bands of Archaic Native Americans produced individuals who painted striking human-like figures on the walls of the canyons in Utah and on the northern part of the Colorado Plateau.

The paintings in the Barrier Canyon style are Utah’s earliest known art on rock and some images could date to a period between eight thousand to six thousand years ago.    They Painted in the Canyons shows photographs by Craig Law selected from the archives of the BCS PROJECT — a non-profit established to create a photographic inventory of Barrier Canyon style pecked and painted images.

Craig Law, project photographer, is Professor Emeritus of Photography, Utah State University, and he lives in Logan. Craig’s work is represented by Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City. In 2008, Craig’s work was recognized by the American Rock Art Research Association with the Oliver Award for outstanding photography of rock art.

David Sucec, project director, is a visual artist, an independent scholar and curator who lives in Salt Lake City. In 1991, David was awarded a Utah Humanities Council Research Fellowship to initiate the BCS PROJECT. David is a member of the Utah Rock Art Research Association and the American Rock Art

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