WOMEN have been a predominant creative force behind Native American art, yet their individual contributions, for centuries, largely have remained unrecognized and anonymous. In the first major thematic exhibition to explore the artistic contributions of Native women, "Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists" celebrates the achievements of these women and establishes their rightful place in the art world.
The exhibition was organized by Jill Ahlberg Yohe, associate curator of Native American Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Teri Greeves, an independent curator and member of the Kiowa Nation.
At the core of "Hearts" is a firm belief in the power of the collaborative process. The Minneapolis Institute of Art formed an all-female Exhibition Advisory Board--which included Native American artists, curators, and Native art historians--to generate new interpretations and scholarship relating to the art and its makers, offering multiple perspectives that explore traditional and contemporary voices and techniques foundational to the art of Native American women.
The exhibition will be on view Feb. 21-May 17 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C., and showcase 82 artworks dating from ancient times to the present, made in a variety of media, from textiles and ceramics to sculpture, time-based media, and photography. This exhibition is multi-lingual with wall text and labels presented in the artist's Native American or First Nations languages, as well as English, aiming to present the works in the context of each artist's own culture and voice.
"We are honored to present this groundbreaking and bold exhibition, designed by and for Native women artists, that showcases their powerful voices and artistic traditions," says Stephanie Stebich, director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. "We are also delighted to work with our sister Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, in offering dynamic programming to explore questions of modem Native identity and artistic practice. This exhibition also reflects the important work of the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative focused on amplifying women's voices, reaching new audiences, and empowering future generations."
The exhibition highlights the traditional and integral role of Native American women artists in serving the cultural, economic, diplomatic, and domestic needs of their communities, reaching beyond longstanding...