Evergreen among Eight Recipients of the Visual and Expressive Arts Program Award from the National Museum of the American Indian

April 28, 2010

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian announces the eight recipients of the 2010 Visual and Expressive Arts Program award. The museum's award program offers support to a wide range of arts activities with the goal of increasing knowledge, understanding and appreciation of contemporary Native American arts.

“The National Museum of the American Indian is dedicated to supporting the creative, collaborative and innovative spirit of contemporary Native artists through the Visual and Expressive Arts Program, which has been graciously sponsored by the Ford Foundation,” said Kevin Gover ( Pawnee ), director of the museum.

Exhibitions and Publications

The Exhibitions and Publications award recipients are The Evergreen State College, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Riverside Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Arts and Design.

The Evergreen State College, based in Olympia, Wash., has organized the exhibition, “Pieces of Home” featuring the work of Native artists Sarah Sense ( Chitimacha ), Maria Hupfield ( Wasauksing ), Kade Twist ( Cherokee ), Jason Lujan ( Chiricahua Apache ), Kimowan McLain ( Cree ), Nicholas Galanin ( Tlingit ) and Merritt Johnson ( Mohawk/Blackfoot ) who will address the concept of “home.” Is a home a house, a place, a reservation, an ecological region, a spiritual landscape, a gathering of family and friends? What are the dynamics of the very literal legal and geographic boundaries to “home” as on tribal lands, reservations, pueblos and reserves? Whether by choice or by forced relocation, how do people leave one home and make another place home? All of these questions and more will be addressed in this exhibition of mixed media, wallpaper, traditional basket weaving, painting, video and performance and installation art.

Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, in Santa Fe, N.M., will support the creation of a newly commissioned site-specific installation titled, “It Wasn’t the Dream of Golden Cities” for the museum’s outdoor Allen Houser Art Park. The installation is part of a series of site-specific installations/exhibitions by Kade Twist ( Cherokee ), Steven Yazzie ( Laguna/Navajo ), Raven Chacon ( Navajo ), Nathan Young ( Delaware/Kiowa/Pawnee ), known as the artist collective “Postcommodity,” which respond to the 400th-anniversary celebration of the founding of Santa Fe and serve as an intervention on behalf of the indigenous people who are the original stewards of this land.

Riverside Metropolitan Museum in Riverside, Calif., will organize the exhibition “American Indian Women Artists: Beyond Craft,” which will focus on the work of four outstanding contemporary Native women artists: Anita Fields ( Osage ), Teri Greeves ( Kiowa ), Pat Courtney Gold ( Wasco ) and Margaret Wood ( Navajo/Seminole ). This exhibition presents their work and documents its significance within the field of American Indian art. Their art reflects American Indian traditions of women’s work. The exhibition’s goal is to increase the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the work of these artists among new audiences. This will be the first major exhibition on this subject at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum.

Museum of Arts and Design in New York City will produce a catalog to accompany the exhibition “Changing Hands 3: Art Without Reservation,” highlighting 100-150 new works by contemporary Native American artists. The series honors the centuries-old Native heritage of the visual arts as part of everyday life, yet challenges traditional stereotypes by presenting work by Native artists within the context of mainstream contemporary art, not as ethnographic artifacts. “Changing Hands” focuses on established and emerging artists who are interrogating their own traditions to extend artistic and cultural boundaries and, in doing so, formulating a new paradigm for contemporary Native American art theory and practice. The catalog, published by the Museum of Arts and Design, will contain a forward, a lead essay by the curators; essays by noted authorities, artists and critics; interviews with selected artists; and artists’ biographies and images.

Expressive Arts

The Expressive Arts recipients are the Cherokee National Theatre Company, CRIC/Coopdanza,Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu/Patrick Makuakane and Dancing Earth Creations.

Cherokee National Theatre Company’s Rebecca Hobbs ( Cherokee ) and Roy Hamilton ( Cherokee ) will collaborate to compose 14 original songs and music to accompany a musical play, Nanyehi—Beloved Woman of the Cherokee. The premiere of the play is planned for 2011 in the Cherokee Nation, with a goal of creating a traveling production. Nanyehi is the true story of Cherokee Beloved Woman, Nancy Ward. After her husband, Kingfisher, died in battle, she took up his fight and led the Cherokee to victory over the Creek tribe. She became a Warrior Woman, a Beloved Woman and a Cherokee leader. She advocated for peace during the American Revolutionary War era, corresponded with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin and became a prominent figure in Cherokee history. Hobbs and Hamilton will collaborate to bring this historic and important story to the stage.

CRIC/Coopdanza of the Bronx in New York City is co-producing The Return of the Condor, which is about the life and legacy of Manuel Quintin Lame, an indigenous Colombian rebel from the early 20th century. Coopdanza and Cristina Cortes will collaborate to produce an interdisciplinary performance art and dance-sound-video installation with pre-Columbian elements and contemporary atmosphere, which is referred to as chirimias, or spoken word and vocals in Native, Spanish and English languages.

Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu’s Patrick Makuakane, a choreographer of this hula school based in San Francisco, will support the project Kapalakiko, a new dance theater work featuring specially commissioned chants and songs composed by Puakea Nogelmeier, a pre-eminent linguist and scholar of the Hawaiian language. Kapalakiko is Hawaiian for San Francisco, and the proposed suite of dances will be a celebratory exploration of the long historical connection between Hawai’i and the city. Illustrated through the use of hula, chanting, storytelling and music, this theatrical dance creation is intended to advance the public dialogue about the experiences of America’s indigenous peoples as it illuminates the ties that bind people together in a pluralistic society.

Dancing Earth Creations of Santa Fe, N.M., will develop a site-specific, structured improvisation as the opening ceremony for its large-scale work, Of Bodies Of Elements. “Invokation” will serve to balance professional performance practices with functional ritual that serves as the root of Native dance and lies at the heart of Dancing Earth’s creativity. The collaborative process will involve the choreographer, dancers and a live musical accompanist. Dancer/choreographer Rulan Tangen will work with indigenous collaborators to discover shapes and movement phrases that relate to the performers’ respective tribal heritages while also exploring the interplay between outdoors and indoors.

Awards totaling $78,000 will support artists and cultural collaborations across the country. The museum received 38 applications requesting a total of nearly $500,000. The award recipients were selected by a panel of museum staff and outside experts in the contemporary art field. Visit the museum’s website at www.AmericanIndian.si.edu this summer for information about next year’s award applications and deadlines.

More information is available here: http://www.nmai.si.edu/press/releases/20100421Illumination_Release.pdf