Dr. Wilda Reviews: Seattle Art Museum’s Indigenous Beauty

18 Feb

Moi recently attended the press preview of Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM) exhibit Indigenous Beauty. Here are the exhibit details:

Indigenous Beauty
Feb 12 – May 17 2015
Seattle Art Museum
Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

SAM describes the exhibit with the headline, “Experience the First Art of North America.” The Native Peoples of North America belong to many cultural groups and lived in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Indigenous Peoples is an attempt to give a flavor of the many cultures by organizing the art according to geographic region. The Native Peoples used the materials and resources that each region provided.

The America Federation of Arts, SAM and other supporters helped bring a sample of the Diker Collection to Seattle, Fort Worth, Atlanta and Toledo. The Diker Collection has been displayed at both the Smithsonian and Metropolitan Museums. Deborah Donovan wrote in a 2009 review of First American Art: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art:

The Dikers also have an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art in their home, and it was there that the curators of this exhibit, Native and non-Native scholars alike, came together to discuss the meanings of Native art.

Inspired by the unique juxtapositioning before them of historical Indian art with modern art-an Acoma olla placed on a table beneath two huge Jean Dubuffets and a colorful Calder mobile, for instance-the curators organized their discussion around seven aesthetic principles common to both: idea, emotion, intimacy, movement, integrity, vocabulary, and composition…. https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/first-american-art/

Given the breadth of the Native experience in North America, this carefully curated exhibit provides examples of the very best of Native artistry and craft. The artists and that is what they were, whether the genesis of their work arose from an expression of their spirit or just a need to create, demonstrate exceptional workmanship. Keep in mind; the artists used the materials they had available. Each piece in the exhibit tells a story about an aspect of the Native experience. Some of the stories may have been lost in the attempt to force assimilation on some of the cultures, but contemporary Native tribal members are attempting to recover the stories.

Indigenous People is simply stunning and a great education experience for all ages. It is worth traveling to one of the venues to breathe in the exceptional artistic and spiritual experience. Dr. Wilda gives Indigenous People a thumbs up.

Educational Resources:


Click to access Bib_DikerCollection.pdf

Indigenous Beauty Educator Resource List

Click to access Indigenous%20Beauty%20Educator%20Resource%20List.pdf

Explore the regions
Western Arctic / eastern subarctic / northwest coast / great basin & california / southwest / plateau & plains / woodlands & southeast

Here is the SAM press release:

Indigenous Beauty
Feb 12 – May 17 2015
Seattle Art Museum
Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries
Get Tickets
This spring, Seattle has the opportunity to see some of the most stunning works of American Indian art ever made.
Marvel at nearly 2,000 years of amazing skill and invention. Linger over drawings, sculptures, baskets, beaded regalia, and masks.
The immense variety of Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection reflects the diversity of Native cultures. This superb exhibition offers more than great works of art and cultural artifacts—it is an invitation to explore other worlds.
Deeply engaged with cultural traditions and the land, indigenous artists over the centuries have used art to represent and preserve their ways of life. Even during the 19th and 20th centuries, when drastic changes were brought by colonization, artists brilliantly adapted their talents and used the new materials available to them to marvelous effect.
The works in Indigenous Beauty will inspire wonder, curiosity, and delight. Come experience the vast beauty of indigenous art from all across North America.
The guest curator for this exhibition is David Penney. Local curator is Barbara Brotherton, Curator of Native American Art at the Seattle Art Museum.
Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection is organized by the American Federation of Arts. This exhibition was made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, the JFM Foundation, and Mrs. Donald M. Cox.

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