Montana sculptor and jeweler Heyoka Merrifield once made an eagle necklace that not only hung around the neck of Joni Mitchell, but was featured in the Martin Scorsese’s film, The Last Waltz. He made a custom necklace for George Harrison of a dark horse that pulls the chariot of a Hindu deity and he designed another necklace for Bob Dylan featuring a lyre as a symbol of Orpheus, the Greek God of music. The list of celebrities goes on and on: Neil Diamond, Michael Jackson, Cher.
But Merrifield’s story isn’t just about serving up spiritual art to the rich and famous. Even though he went to college for contemporary art, he’s spent the last 20 years in Montana rediscovering the idea of sacred art through his native heritage. Sundancing with the Muse is a film about the Bitterroot resident whose inspiration stems from near death experience, Greek Goddesses, spiritual dance and wild animals. Directed by local artist and cinematographer Jason Gutzmer, it was just accepted for Utah’s Red Rocks Film Festival and is airing on PBS. Check out the trailer here:
The Bitterroot premier of Sundancing with the Muse coincides with a benefit for the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, recently profiled in the New York Times. The film screens at the Hamilton Performing Arts Center (217 Daly Ave.) tonight, Friday, Nov. 12, at 7 PM. $15/$10 children 14 and under or $12 advance/$8 children advance tickets available at the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Chapter One Bookstore, Bella, Flower Happy, and all Farmers State Bank branches. Children 5 and under view for free.