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(RE)CLAIM: Indigenous Artists Reflect on Identity

For centuries, stories of Native American art and culture have often been told through a non-Native lens. Such non-Native narratives have frequently shaped perceptions about indigenous people, including beliefs held by some modern Americans.

In response, many contemporary indigenous artists endeavor to tell their own stories. Provocative, engaging, and often humorous, their art both establishes and reclaims their cultural narratives.

Many indigenous artists also create works that reflect how they negotiate their place within Native and non-Native communities. As Native people living in a country with a dominant non-Native culture, these artists examine the intersections of these distinct cultural worlds.

The selection of artists in this exhibition is representative of a larger community of contemporary Native artists working to assert Native perspectives and challenge misconceptions. Presented entirely through the artists’ own works and words, (RE)CLAIM shares their reflections on the always relevant question of identity.

About Gallery 214 in the American Galleries
Small exhibitions in this gallery change every six months to showcase the variety of the collection and protect the art from overexposure to damaging light.

How the West is One by Will Wilson

The Trickster Showdown by Julie Buffalohead

Medicine Crow by Marcus Amerman Dark Reign by Norman Akers

Will Wilson, born 1969, Diné (Navajo), living in New Mexico. How the West is One, 2014. Inkjet print on paper, Each image: 24 x 36 inches; the two prints comprise a single work. Purchase: the American Indian Deaccession Fund, 2016.59.1,2. Julie Buffalohead, born 1972, Ponca, living in Minnesota. The Trickster Showdown, 2014. Lithograph on paper, Image (left): 27 ½ x 21 7/8 inches; Image (right): 27 ½ x 33 7/8 inches; the two prints comprise a single work. Purchase: acquired through the generosity of Timothy B. and Jean Schmit, 2017.8.1,2. Marcus Amerman, born 1959, Choctaw, living in New Mexico. Medicine Crow, 1992. Glass beads, coated fabric, and thread, 12 ½ x 9 ¾ inches. Purchase: the A. Keith Brodkin Fund for the Acquisition of Contemporary American Indian Art, 2016.21. Norman Akers, born 1958, Osage/Pawnee, living in Kansas. Dark Reign, 2014. Lithograph on paper, 20 ¾ x 16 ½ inches. Purchase: acquired through the generosity of the Print Society, 2017.9.