Bunner McFarland, artist/anthropologist
Eugene Bunner McFarland (1909-1973) came from an early pioneer family on the Noyo River outside of today’s Fort Bragg on the northern California coast. It is believed that he first met native people here on the Mendocino Coast.
Bunner’s Niece, Wanda McFarland has shared some family history with us and knows that Bunner went to high school in Pittsburg and was in the Class of 1927. He did not graduate with his class, however. Instead he decorated the prom hall with poison oak and then left.
When he was a teenager in Pittsburg, CA, in the 1920’s on the Sacramento –San Joaquin River delta, he began living with native peoples and observing their practices. Bunner later had a nursery in West Pittsburg specializing in bamboo and bonsai. He roamed all over the west coast, down into Mexico, to Yosemite, up to Mendocino. He sought out and befriended many native Californians and learned their ways. We have been told he served as the right hand man of Chief Lumee in Yosemite for many years. When at home, he lived in a tent house out in the back but came in for meals. He always squatted, never sat and often cooked his food outside.He was a free spirit in many ways.
These prints are the artist’s only known output, documenting a world that had vanished by the time Bunner lived with various Peoples, re-visioning a world that was still very much alive.
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