Richly Decorated Memorials Emerge From Ancient Traditions
The New York Times, March 10, 2020
A show in Virginia reflects growing interest in contemporary Aboriginal art, and indigenous works in general.
For indigenous artists all over the world, the march toward representation in museums has been slow and not at all steady. It has come in fits and starts.
In North America, Canadian institutions have generally made more sustained efforts at devoting space and resources to indigenous art than those in the United States. But that has been changing of late.
A current show at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville offers American viewers a chance to see works by indigenous artists from a remote part of Australia’s Northern Territory known as Arnhem Land.
Listen to the Radio IQ/WVTF feature by Sandy Hausman on the Australian Aboriginal art exhibitions in Charlottesville: Aboriginal Art is Center Stage in Charlottesville
Excellent coverage of Charlottesville's city-wide celebration of Aboriginal art in the C-Ville Weekly of Jan 22, 2020:
Down under, up above: A wealth of Indigenous Australian art comes to Charlottesville this winter
"This week, something extraordinary will happen in Charlottesville: Four exhibitions of contemporary Aboriginal Australian art will open in four different venues across town, bringing the total number of such exhibitions currently on view to six. And a seventh will open in mid-February."
"CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Fralin Museum of Art and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection are partnering to present The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles.
The Inside World, on view at the Fralin Jan. 24-May 24, 2020, presents 112 memorial poles by 55 artists from remote Aboriginal communities in the tropical northern region of Australia known as Arnhem Land."
Read the full story in UVA Arts here!
We are delighted to host Cara Romero as a Mellon Indigenous Arts Visiting Fellow, November 18-22, 2019. Romero is an award-winning artist who utilizes techniques learned in film, digital, fine art, and commercial photography to produce powerful visual imagery that serves both as social commentary and to bring focus on Indigenous female perspectives. She painstakingly constructs narrative scenes that use pop cultural references to visually critique common stereotypes of Native women and to tell contemporary stories of Native identity.
Romero will give an Artist Talk, Tuesday, November 19, 6:00 PM, at Campbell Hall, room 153. The talk is free and open to the public, no reservation required. A reception will follow. Parking is available at Culbreth Parking Garage. You can visit The Fralin Museum of Art to see her work Kaa, pictured here, on view until January 2020.
Meet Visiting Artists Barbara Moore and Sharon Adamson at a reception at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, Thursday Nov 14, 5:30-7:30 PM
Barbara Moore and Sharon Adamson are visiting artists at Kluge-Ruhe November 4-16. Their residency coincides with an exhibition of their work, Ngayulu Nguraku Ninti | The Country I Know. The bold, large-scale paintings currently on view at Kluge-Ruhe represent the artists’ traditional homelands and are a rich and colorful expression of their relationship to it.
During the residency, Barbara Moore has been painting a large-scale mural on site at Kluge-Ruhe. The reception on Thursday officially opens her brand-new specially commissioned work.
Don’t miss the chance to see these celebrated artists alongside their amazing paintings! For more information about the artist and the exhibition, click here.
Image: Barbara Moore at work on her mural. Photo courtesy Henry Skerritt.
The Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative is delighted to host Navajo weaver D.Y. Begay as our next Indigenous Arts Visiting Fellow in October 21-24. As part of her residency, Begay will co-teach some classes at UVa and will work on the Fralin Museum of Art's collection of Native American textiles with Adriana Greci Green, Curator of Indigenous Arts of the Americas.
Begay will give a public Artist Talk (free, no reservation required) on October 22, 6:30 PM, Campbell Hall room 153 (UVa's School of Architecture). Additionally, you can visit the Fralin Museum of Art October 1-24 to see one of her works, Dah iistłó Bizaad (Weaving’s Voice), 2017, on loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
D.Y. Begay, a Navajo born to the Totsohni’ (Big Water) Clan and born for the Tachinii’ (Red Running into Earth) Clan, is a fourth-generation weaver. Growing up around female weavers, she was exposed to herding and shearing sheep, carding and spinning wool, harvesting plants for dyeing, and learning to weave in the traditional Navajo fashion. Begay’s tapestries encompass her interpretation of the natural beauty and descriptive colors of the Navajo reservation, reflecting on her Navajo identity and her family’s weaving tradition. This spiritual connection to the plants yields the natural colors that are transformed into evocative land formations on her loom. Her current work combines mastery of this tradition with unconventional uses of colors and design, producing experiments with non-reservation color combinations in her weavings.
Begay is a 2018 United States Artists Fellow and is a recipient of the Native American Art Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2013). In 2018 the Museum of Northern Arizona organized Tselani/Terrain: Tapestries of D.Y. Begay, a focused retrospective of her work. Begay’s tapestries have been exhibited in and collected by major museums, including the National Museum of the American Indian, New York City; Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, NM; Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens, OH; C.N. Gorman Museum, Davis, CA; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; Mesa Art Center, Mesa, AZ; National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland; and the Heard Museum. Her work traveled in the Arts in Embassies program in 2006 and 2010. Her latest work, a wintry landscape of northeastern Minnesota commissioned by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, is presently on tour in the acclaimed exhibition Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists.
Image: DY Begay with her tapestry Confluence of Lavender © Kelso Meyer 2016
Adriana Greci Green, Curator of Indigenous Arts of the Americas at UVa’s Fralin Museum of Art, served on the Native Exhibition Advisory Board for Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, a groundbreaking major exhibition that opened June 2, 2019, at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Exhibition curators Jill Ahlberg Yohe and Teri Greeves gathered the all-female board of 21 native artists and native and non-native scholars of indigenous arts from across North America to share knowledge and ideas through a collaborative and communal creative process, and to involve a wide range of indigenous voices. The Advisory Board provided input through all stages of the curatorial process.
From the Minneapolis Institute of Art web site:
Women have long been the creative force behind Native art. Presented in close cooperation with top Native women artists and scholars, this first major exhibition of artwork by Native women honors the achievements of over 115 artists from the United States and Canada spanning over 1,000 years. Their triumphs—from pottery, textiles, and painting, to photographic portraits, to a gleaming El Camino—show astonishing innovation and technical mastery. Read more.
The exhibition has received great acclaim. Read a review in the New York Times here.
Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists will travel to the Frist Museum in Nashville September 27, 2019 – January 12, 2020, to the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. February 21, 2020 – May 17, 2020, and to Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa June 28, 2020 – September 20, 2020.
On July 18 from 5 – 9 pm, The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of UVA will open its new exhibition With Her Hands: Women’s Fiber Art from Gapuwiyak: The Louise Hamby Gift, curated by six undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds. The exhibition features baskets, dilly bags, mats, sculptures and necklaces selected from a gift of 100 fiber artworks recently donated to Kluge-Ruhe by anthropologist Dr. Louise Hamby. The artworks in this significant gift—the first in an ongoing series of donations—address topics of tradition and innovation, gender roles, generational change, and relationships to place, and the Hamby gift will establish Kluge-Ruhe as a world center for the study of contemporary Aboriginal women’s fiber art.
This summer, Kluge-Ruhe is training the next generation of curators while addressing the pressing lack of diversity in American museums, as part of UVA’s broader Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative. Six undergraduate students—Barriane Franks (Xavier University of Louisiana), Antionette Griffin (Auburn University at Montgomery), Hannah Jeffries (University of North Carolina at Pembroke), Helen Martinez (University of Houston-Downtown), Diana Proenza (New College of Florida), and Victoria Morales Rodriguez (University of Puerto Rico- Mayaguez)—have traveled to Charlottesville for the Mellon Summer Curatorial Research Program, which is designed to train curators from backgrounds underrepresented in the museum professions. Under the supervision of Kluge-Ruhe Curator Henry F. Skerritt and two UVA graduate students in the English department, Eva Latterner and Cassie Davies, the curatorial students are learning every aspect of designing an exhibition, from writing wall labels down to choosing wall colors.
Given that modern and contemporary art exhibitions disproportionately represent male artists (the Guerrilla Girls counted in 2012 that less than 4% of the artists in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s modern art sections were women), and that a 2015 study showed 73% of museum leadership positions are occupied by men, this exhibition is remarkably unique. With six women of color curating works by 25 Indigenous women artists, With Her Hands: Women’s Fiber Art from Gapuwiyak: The Louise Hamby Gift challenges issues of gender and representation in the museum profession.
“I view this exhibition as a chance to recognize and showcase the often-unheard voices of gifted female artists,” says curator Diana Proenza of New College of Florida.
Louise Hamby and fiber artist Lucy Malirrimurruwuy Wanapuyngu are visiting Charlottesville to advise the project and to offer public workshops in dyeing and weaving.
With Her Hands: Women’s Fiber Art from Gapuwiyak: The Louise Hamby Gift, and the accompanying catalogue, will be launched on Thursday, July 18 at Kluge-Ruhe’s Night at the Museum event from 5-9pm. The curatorial students will present short “flat-chat” tours of key works in the exhibition. The event will also feature live original music by The Sally Rose Band, food trucks, and local beer and wine. Admission is $5 for non-members and free for museum members. The event is family-friendly and no reservations are needed. For more information about the museum and this event, visit kluge-ruhe.org or call 434-244-0234.
Artist Lily Hope shares the power of story and tradition through Native American weaving
By Caitlin Woodford | 01/30/2019
Storytelling is an aspect of culture that is tied into nearly every form of contemporary media. Through books, movies, TV shows and everything in between, a vast array of stories are constantly being fed into the world. However, the power of stories is not limited to merely these mediums. In a studio in Juneau, Alaska, a different method of storytelling is taking place — one that has been passed down for generations through immensely talented indigenous artists. Read more.
Erin O'Hare, Cville Weekly. With an open palm, Teri Greeves gestures to a handful of small, intricately beaded Kiowa Indian cradleboards lined up inside a glass display case.
Kiowa Indians are known for their abstract beadwork motifs, she tells the small crowd that’s gathered to hear her speak at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. And while these cradleboards were made in the 19th century, likely for dolls, they’re not unlike the one that swaddled Greeves, a member of the Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma, when she was a newborn on Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation in the 1970s.
“I came home in a fully beaded cradleboard. From the moment I was born, I was encased in glass beads,” she says. Her Italian father made the wooden spines to anchor and support the swaddling sack, and he, together with Greeves’ Kiowa and Comanche mother, designed the beadwork. A Shoshone Indian woman, a mother figure to Greeves’ mother, beaded the design to the sack. It likely required hundreds of hours of work, says Greeves, and it makes her feel extraordinarily loved. Continue reading...
The Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, and the "Oceans of Exchange" symposium were recently featured in UVA Today. Find out "How UVA Has Become a Global Center for Indigenous Art."
By Jack Jacobs, Tidewater Review
A gift given in the name of peace hundreds of years ago has found its way back home.
Preservation Virginia repatriated a 17th-century frontlet back to the Pamunkey Tribe, which was originally gifted by King Charles II of England to Pamunkey Queen Cockacoeske, in a ceremony at the preservation group’s Richmond office.
Continue reading here: http://www.dailypress.com/tidewater-review/news/va-vg-tr-pamunkey-frontlet-1220-story.html
CBS 19 News
"The University of Virginia hosted a symposium Tuesday night (November 14, 2017) to discuss the portrayal of indigenous people in Charlottesville statues.
Monumental Meanings: Indigenous Perspectives on Monuments and Memorials in Charlottesville and Beyond brought scholars and indigenous people together to discuss the ways native peoples are represented in statues."
Read the full article and watch the accompanying video here: http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/Monumental-Meanings-Symposium-addresses-local-statues-457539093.html
Shelley Niro: Indian Summer will be on view at You Me Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario from November 10-December 3, 2017. The exhibition features several new works and large paintings from her touring exhibition "Indian Summer." Shelley Niro recently visited the University of Virginia as a Fellow of the Mellon Indigenous Arts Initaitive. She is the winner of the 2017 ScotiaBank Photography Award and Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. You Me Gallery is open Wednesday-Sunday from 12-5pm and is located at 330 James St. North, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
The Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival aims to foster greater awareness of and exposure to indigenous languages, cultures and societies by featuring film and live performances celebrating Native American stories and storytellers.
Read the full article by Lindley Estes here: http://whurk.org/57/pocahontas-reframed
Pocahontas Reframed: Native American Storytellers Film Festival will be held on November 17-19 at The Byrd Theater. Admission is free, but seating is limited. To register and see the full event schedule, visit pocahontasreframed.com.
Henry Skerritt, Curator of Indigenous Arts of Australia at Kluge-Ruhe, was quoted in The Washington Diplomat in an article about the current exhibition of Indigenous art at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C. The exhibition features works by Raymond Bulambula and his wife*, recent Mellon Indigenous Arts Visiting Fellows at UVA.
Read the Washington Diplomat article: Australian Embassy Celebrates Aboriginal Artists from Remote Island of Milingimbi
Check out the exhibition artwork here: http://www.milingimbiart.com/gapu-murnuk-exhibition/
*Note: Raymond Bulambula’s wife passed away several months after these events and she is referred to here as ‘his wife’ in accordance with cultural protocols that prohibit the name or image of a recently deceased person from being spoken, written or presented.
Monday, October 9, 2017 is Charlottesville's first Indigenous Peoples Day.
Check out the article below from Charlottesville Tomorrow which features Dr. Karenne Wood (Monacan), director of Virginia Indian Programs at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities:
Dr. Wood is also featured in this video story from Newsplex:
Learn about the work and career of Mohawk artist and filmmaker Shelley Niro in "Shelley Niro: The way of the subtle warrior," an article by Murray Whyte for the Toronto Star. Niro will be in residence at the University of Virginia from September 20-October 5 as a Visiting Fellow of the Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative.
On Friday, August 25, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection will hold a lecture and reception to open an exhibition titled Australia: Defending the Ocean at the Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library.
The exhibition, which has been installed in the Library’s reading room, highlights the ecological disaster created by abandoned and discarded fishing nets off the coast of northeastern Australia. These “ghost nets” are made of strong plastic designed to withstand the harsh ocean environment. A by-product of the commercial fishing industry, ghost nets drift on the ocean currents, trapping a rich array of marine life including such endangered species as sea turtles, sharks, rays and sawfish among many others. Eventually they drift to the ocean floor, suffocating marine animals and coral reefs alike and creating long term damage to the marine environment. It is estimated that over 640,000 tons of fishing equipment is left in the oceans each year.
Indigenous Australians were among the first to notice the devastating effects of ghost nets. For thousands of years, Indigenous people have retained and passed down extensive knowledge of marine life, a result of their longstanding stewardship of the environment in which they live. In reaction to the increasing threat posed by debris in the ocean, Aboriginal artists from Pormpuraaw, Queensland, have begun harvesting ghost nets and turning them into delightful sculptures of marine life. Their artworks raise awareness about the environmental threat of litter in the ocean.
Also included in the exhibition are three prints and an aluminum sculpture of a stingray by Brian Robinson (Maluyliga, Wuthathi, Malaysia Dayak). The sculpture, Ocean Guardian, represents the creation story of the Great Barrier Reef and is covered in mineral, the distinctive graphic patterns of Torres Strait art. In his linocut prints, Robinson draws on his Torres Strait Islander heritage and traditional art historical and pop culture imagery.
On Friday, August 25 at 4 pm professor Stephen Macko from UVA’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Kluge-Ruhe director Margo Smith will discuss the exhibition from two different perspectives. The lecture will be followed by a Final Fridays reception with refreshments concluding at 7 pm. Brown Library is located in Clark Hall, 291 McCormick Road, on UVA’s central Grounds.
Australia: Defending the Ocean was first exhibited at the United Nations during The Ocean Conference in June 2017. Kluge-Ruhe wishes to thank the artists of Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Center and the exhibition organizers Stéphane Jacob of Arts d’Australie, Paris, Suzanne O’Connell of Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane, and John Stafford of Onespace Gallery, Brisbane, who represents Brian Robinson.
On Thursday, July 13, Karenne Wood, director of the Virginia Indian Program at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, spoke with local Charlottesville radio station WINA about the Virginia Indian Tribute and her work at VFH. She also mentioned upcoming visiting fellows Shelley Niro and ElizaBeth Hill, who will be in residence at the University of Virginia this Fall. Use the link below to hear the full interview.
On July 20th from 5 – 9 pm, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of UVA will open a major new exhibition curated by five undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds that are under-represented in the curatorial profession. The students’ exhibition, titled Songs of a Secret Country, features twenty-three artworks newly donated to Kluge-Ruhe by Stephen and Agatha Luczo.
This summer, Kluge-Ruhe is training the next generation of curators while addressing the pressing lack of diversity in American museums, as part of UVA’s broader Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative. Five undergraduate students—India Ferguson, Imani Williford, Rosalba Ponce, Jake Martin, and Caitlin Keeve—have traveled to Charlottesville from their homes in California, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Florida to learn every aspect of designing an exhibition, from writing wall labels down to choosing wall colors.
India Ferguson is a rising senior from Florida International University who aims to attend a graduate program in curatorial studies. “I’m excited to celebrate the work of the Australian Indigenous artists in Charlottesville. It has been a great experience for our student curatorial group to create an exhibition that challenges us to immerse ourselves in different belief systems while reflecting upon our own identities.”
Songs of a Secret Country is the first display of a major new gift of twenty-three artworks to the Kluge-Ruhe Collection from San Francisco philanthropists Stephen and Agatha Luczo. Stephen is Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Seagate Technology, a data storage solutions company and one of the world’s largest producers of computer hard drives. A model and former dancer, Agatha is the author of the children’s book Carla and Leo’s World of Dance. The Luczos began collecting contemporary Aboriginal art in 2006 and quickly amassed one of the largest collections in the USA. According to Blair Hartzell, curator of the Luczo Family Collection, “It is the brilliant level of engagement—with students, with the local community, and with artists from both America and Australia, that makes the Kluge-Ruhe the ideal home for this gift.”
The donation features abstract, large-scale contemporary masterpieces from desert regions not heavily represented in the Kluge-Ruhe Collection. Curator Henry Skerritt explains, “The Stephen and Agatha Luczo Gift shows the continuing innovation and diversity of Aboriginal Australian art. Featuring some of the most important and acclaimed contemporary painters of the last decade—such as Makinti Napanangka and Harry Tjutjuna—it allows us to show the living nature of Aboriginal art and culture as it moves into the 21st century.” Director Margo Smith adds, “Kluge-Ruhe and the University of Virginia are tremendously grateful to the Luczos for the opportunity to use this major donation of artworks to advance our Mellon initiatives. Through this program Kluge-Ruhe is becoming the preeminent center for the study of Indigenous Australian art in the United States.”
Songs of a Secret Country: The Stephen and Agatha Luczo Gift and the accompanying catalogue will be launched on Thursday, July 20 at Kluge-Ruhe’s Night at the Museum event, with each student presenting a short “flat-chat” tour of key works in the exhibition. This event will also feature live original music by local band Adar, food trucks, beer from Blue Mountain Brewery and wine from Glass House Winery. 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 kluge-ruhe.org or call 434-244-0234.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Rain or shine.
To learn more about the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission and "Mantle," visit the commission's website: http://indiantribute.virginia.gov/
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.
On Friday March 17, 2017 Karenne Wood, director of Virginia Indian programs at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, delivered a keynote lecture at a conference in London marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Pocahontas.
The conference, Pocahontas and after: historical culture and transatlantic encounters, 1617-2017, was organized by the Institute for Historical Research at the University of London and was supported by the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, The British Library, and The University of Warwick.
Her lecture, Prisoners of History: Pocahontas and American Indian Women in Cultural Context, explores two very different stories of Native American women, Pocahontas and Mary Jemison. Continue reading.