See 2 new Native American art exhibits starting October 9. + The Jingle Dress Project October 16, 11 am-1pm

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You can see photographs of Tapahe’s Jingle Dress project at the Native American Art Gallery at the Birmingham Museum of Arts. Photo by Eugène Tapahe

Monday October 11 is Indigenous Peoples Day and the Birmingham Museum of Art has two new exhibitions and a dance performance for the occasion. Both exhibitions open on Saturday October 9 and all are invited to watch the dancers of The fringed dress project Saturday October 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Read on for all the details.

3 opportunities to discover Native American art at the Birmingham Museum of Art

Engraved shell cut
Shell cup engraved with representation of Birdman. Le Flore County, Oklahoma, Spiro Site, 1100 – 1200 AD. Marine shell. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, University of Oklahoma, Norman.
  • What: opening of two separate exhibitions of Native American art, both ancient and contemporary
    • Lost Realms of the Moundbuilders: Ancient Native Americans of the South and Midwest– explore the archeology and history of the Mississippian mound builders
    • Voices So True: New Native American Art from the Clyde Oyster Bequest—Presents the work of seven contemporary Native American artists, whose vision gives voice to Native American perspectives past and present
  • When: saturday 9 october
  • Cost: free

  • What: Art Heals: The Fringed Dress Project—An live performance of the traditional Jingle Dress dance followed by a presentation and Q&A with artist Eugene Tapahe and dancers.
  • When: Saturday October 16, 11 am-1pm
  • Cost: free | Registration required

Visit the Birmingham Museum of Art for more details.

1. Lost Realms of the Moundbuilders: Ancient Native Americans of the South and Midwest

mound builders disc
Circular palette engraved with intertwined feathered snakes, known as the Issaquena Disc. Issaquena County, Mississippi, 1250-1500. Ceramic. Courtesy of the Ohio History Connection. A14 / 023.

Chances are, if you grew up in Alabama, you are familiar with Moundville, located just south of Tuscaloosa. But did you know that the ancient Moundbuilders of North America, aka the Mississippians, were one of the most important Native American cultures in our country?

According to historians, the world they created was equal to that of the Aztecs, Mayas or Incas.

Fun facts about the exhibition:

  • Includes 175 historical artifacts from four major Moundbuilder locations:
    • The Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma
    • Moundville, Alabama
    • The mounds of Etowah in Georgia
    • Cahoka Mounds in East Saint Louis, Illinois
  • Features contemporary Indigenous artwork that connects the art and art of the Moundbuilder people to their modern descendants.
  • Explore the archeology and history of the mound builders, their religious and ceremonial activities, agricultural and hunting practices, daily life, business networks, and highly developed social, political and religious centers.
  • Created in collaboration with several Native American tribal nations and accompanied by a major catalog, with contributions from Native American cultural scholars and 17 humanities scholars from nearly a dozen universities and museums in the United States.
  • Organized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma, where he made his debut before coming here.
  • Until February 6, 2022. Next stop: Dallas

2. Voices So True: New Native American Art from the Clyde Oyster Bequest

Zoe Urness
Zoë Marieh Urness, Native American, Tlingit and Cherokee, born 1984, December 5, 2016 / Standing Rock, December 5, 2016, photograph; Purchase of the museum with funds provided by the estate of Clyde W. Oyster, 2017.61.

This exhibition, which will be held in Birmingham from Saturday October 16 to January 30, 2022, presents the work of seven contemporary Native American artists:

These artists are affiliated with many different tribal nations, including:

Fun facts about the exhibition:

  • Its title is based on the writings of Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Nation and the first Native American poet laureate of the United States, who wrote: “… my father told me that some voices are so true that they can be used as weapons, can maneuver time, change time.
  • The exhibition includes photographs, prints, paintings and basketry.
  • The works explore topics such as memory and identity, the environment, cultural appropriation, encroachment, racism, healing from epidemic diseases and violence, and giving voice to the voiceless.

Highlights of the exhibition:

  • Photographs by Eugène Tapahe Fringed dress project documenting an artist’s vision and healing act during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Several works address the protests of the Standing Rock Sioux in 2016 against an oil pipeline that threatened Standing Rock’s water supply.
  • In his series 1880 Delegation of the Peace of the Raven, Wendy Red Star adds hand-written text to a group of historic photographic portraits of Crow Chiefs, images over which the models had no control and which have been appropriate in popular culture.
  • This exhibition is curated by Dr Emily G. Hanna, Senior Curator, Arts of Africa and the Americas, and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

3. Art Heals: The Fringed Dress Project

On Saturday, October 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., everyone is invited to an in-person performance of the traditional Jingle Dress dance, followed by a presentation and Q&A with artist Eugene Tapahe and the dancers. . Registration required.

“The jingle dance of the Ojibwe people was born during the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. It came as a dream for a father whose daughter was sick with the virus. Her dream revealed a dress and dance that had the power to heal. When the dresses were made, they were given to four women to perform the dance. When the little girl heard the sound of the jingles, she got louder. At the end of the night, she was dancing too.

Eugene Tapahé

Plan now to visit the Birmingham Museum of Art from October 9 for both exhibitions and Saturday October 16 for the Jingle Dress Dance. Follow Birmingham Museum of Art on their website, on Facebook or Instagram.

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