Visiting Fellow Raymond Bulambula guides a UVA art student in making a "Marratjirri" Morning Star Pole.

Fayerweather Hall, McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia

Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia

The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia

Film Screening: Kissed by Lightning

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
5:30pm | Newcomb Hall Theatre

The Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative presents the film "Kissed by Lighting" by celebrated Mohawk filmmaker and artist Shelley Niro. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Niro and musician ElizaBeth Hill, whose music is featured in the film. Karenne Wood, director of Virginia Indian Programs at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, will moderate the Q&A. This event is concurrent with Niro's and Hill's residency at UVA as Mellon Indigenous Arts Visiting Fellows. 

Sponsored by Arts Enhancement Fund for 2017-2018 from the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts

View the movie trailer here:

Lecture: Alessandro Questa

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
5:30pm | OpenGrounds

Alessandro Questa, Mellon Indigenous Arts Fellow and UVA Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology, presents his research with Masewal indigenous farmers in central Mexico in relation to a series of 17th century indigenous manuscripts that have been preserved in a church there. Questa states, "The documents in question are an extraordinary sample of historic indigenous visual art, documentation and conceptualization of their territory. My research now is devoted to understanding what these documents mean for Masewal people today."

Join us at Open Grounds for a presentation and light refreshments provided by Feast!

"Mantle" Groundbreaking Celebration

Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Richmond VA


10:00-11:00am | Capitol Square, Richmond, VA

The Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission and the Virginia Capitol Foundation will host the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Virginia Indian Tribute. This monument, entitled Mantle, recognizes the lasting legacy and significance of American Indians in the Commonwealth.

The featured speaker at the groundbreaking is Billy Mills, member of the Oglala Lakota (Souix) tribe and the Olympic gold medal winner of the 10,000 meter run in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The Groundbreaking Ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 24 in Capitol Square, located at 1000 Bank Street in Richmond, VA.

The public is invited to join in the groundbreaking ceremony. To RSVP or for more information please call 804-308-2583 or email info@monumentalconsultingllc.comRain or shine.

For more information about the proposed monument, visit the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission website:


Opening Reception: Songs of a Secret Country

Thursday, July 20, 2017
Kluge-Ruhe | 5-9pm

This exhibition comprises contemporary paintings and sculpture by Indigenous Australian artists from various regions across the Australian continent, from the central desert to coastal regions and islands. Centering on the theme of “country,” the artworks sing melodies of ancestors and land, creation and power, history and memory, community and identity. In caring for and painting their ancestral terrain and home places, Aboriginal artists acknowledge the countless memories already lived and those to come.

Songs of a Secret Country was curated by five students from universities across the United States. As part of the UVA Summer Curatorial Research Program, this project trains a new generation of curators to address the pressing lack of diversity in museum practice. The artworks represented are a recent gift to the Kluge-Ruhe Collection by philanthropists Stephen and Agatha Luczo of California.

Admission is $5 for non-members and free for museum members. It is family-friendly and no reservations are needed. For more information about the museum and this event, visit or call 434-244-0234.

Artwork: Bugai Whyoulter, Wantili, 2014, Acrylic on canvas, 59 ¾” x 59 ¾” (c) the artist, courtesy Martumili Artists, Newman 

Night at the Museum

Jon Spear Band
Thursday, June 15, 2017

5:00 – 9:00 pm, band goes on at 6 pm
$5 non-members, FREE for members 

Join us for Night at the Museum, your opportunity to explore our exhibitions after hours and enjoy the best food, libations and music in Charlottesville! In June we’re featuring beer from Devil’s Backbone Brewery and a few of Charlottesville’s best food trucks. The Jon Spear Band will deliver their award-winning original blues tunes. The event also has a Kids Zone with Australian-themed children’s activities, as well as a Flat Chat Tour, a ten-minute discussion about an artwork on view by a museum staff member. And all of it happens outside at our beautiful location on Pantops, one of the best hidden spots to watch the sunset in Charlottesville.

Shelley Niro Wins $50K Scotiabank Photography Award

Indigenous artist Shelley Niro has won the seventh annual Scotiabank Photography Award. This prestigious award recognizes a Canadian photographer who has made an outstanding contribution to contemporary art and photography. In addition to the $50,000 cash prize, the award includes a solo exhibition at the 2018 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival and a book of the artists work published by Steidl of Germany. 

Shelley Niro will also be visiting the University of Virginia in Fall 2017 as a Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative artist-in-residence. 

Archaeology Brown Bag: Davide Domenici

Friday, April 28, 2017
Brooks Hall Conference Room

Time: 4:00 - 5:15 pm

Recent Archaeological Research in Cahokia's West Plaza

Davide Domenici

Department of History and Cultures (Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà)

University of Bologna

Abstract This talk presents the results of a recent archaeological project, organized jointly by the University of Bologna (Italy) and Washington University in St. Louis, located in the so-called Merrell Tract. The tract is an area within one of the four plazas which defined the epicenter of the Mississippian city of Cahokia, in Illinois. The excavation, expanding an area investigated in 1960 during a salvage archeological project, brought to light evidence of human occupation dating from pre-Cahokian, Emergent Mississippian times (10th century AD) to the Late Mississippian Moorehead and Sand Prairie phases (14th century), thus spanning the entire Cahokian sequence. The recovered evidence witnesses changing settlement dynamics that reflect the whole trajectory of Cahokia's history, from its birth to ultimate demise.

Light refreshments will be provided!



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