(Cotuit, Massachusetts) The Cahoon Museum of American Art celebrates National Native American Heritage Month in November with the exhibit Brenda Kingery: Weaving Messages. On display until December 19, 2021, the exhibition features a series of narrative abstract paintings whose vivid expressions are inspired by the artist’s global cultural vision and Chickasaw heritage.
Brenda Kingery: Weaving Messages presents 12 large-scale works of art ranging from formative pieces by the artist, mature contemporary works and new paintings. Kingery’s paintings are mixed media, sometimes acrylic and sometimes oil, with occasional additions of mica and small items found, applied and hidden in many layers of paint. Kingery painted using the sumi-e (ink wash) telling tales of classic Odori dancers and tribes from Central Africa, as well as tales of Chickasaw powwow dancers her grandmother told her as a child. Her work, filled with life, movement and memories, is a celebration of Indigenous cultural traditions.
Kingery has traveled widely, and influences in his work include artists from the Ryukyuan Islands of Japan, indigenous communities in Mexico and Central America, remote villages in Uganda, and powwow celebrations in his native Oklahoma. Kingery’s perspective is both international and humanitarian; his works refer to the traditions of textiles, dance, drumming and singing as living reminders of the resilience and strength of peoples to preserve and celebrate their cultures. Kingery has cultivated a global identity while remaining linked to its Chickasaw history.
“Kingery combines a global experience with her own style of painting,” said Sarah Johnson, executive director of the Cahoon Museum of American Art. “She celebrates the transformation that occurs when the imagination collaborates with memory and uses its web to explore time, place and culture.”
Brenda Kingery: Weaving Messages is curated by Heather K. Lunsford, Director of the School of Visual Art, Oklahoma City University.
About Brenda Kingery
Brenda Kingery was born in Oklahoma City in 1939 in the Chickasaw Nation and studied painting and drawing. Kingery was first introduced to Abstract Expressionism as it was gaining popularity in the United States. She then developed this style while studying fine arts at the University of Oklahoma where she graduated in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree. Kingery emigrated to Okinawa, Japan, in 1968, where she befriended weavers and potters, and was inspired to paint textiles, textures, and Okinawan tales in her works of art. While in Japan, Kingery studied under a sumi-e painter and honed his skills in the ancient Japanese art of ink, water and brush. Kingery’s work is included in numerous private, corporate and public collections around the world. She is a founding member of Threads of Blessing International and travels to Honduras, Mexico and Uganda to teach textile design in workshops that encourage women to use their indigenous artistic skills. In 2007, Kingery was appointed by the President of the United States to the Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She exhibited in Milan, Italy; Paris, France; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan; Indianapolis, Indiana; Washington DC; and San Antonio, Texas.