We Have Words for Art: A Symposium on Writing about Art by Indigenous Peoples

We Have Words for Art
February 27, 2021

On February 27 and 28, First American Arts Magazine is hosting a free virtual two-day symposium, We Have Words for Art: A Symposium on Writing about Art by Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.

The symosium will address the challenges of and share strategies for writing about Indigenous art of the Americas. First American Art Magazine (FAAM) is hosting this symposium to share collective experiences in the field of writing about Native art from North and South America. We Have Words for Art recognizes that Indigenous people should lead the development of new protocols that honor cultural sensitivity, accuracy, and inclusion so that Indigenous communities become central to the Native art canon. 

heather ahtone (Choctaw/Chickasaw), senior curator at the First Americans Museum, who has outlined an Indigenous-centered methodology for critiquing Native art, will deliver the keynote address. Individual presentation topics include Indigenous art criticism methodology, Native arts scholarship in academia, writing exhibition text for museums, tribal affiliations in art writers, and writing about Native art for mainstream art audiences. Roundtable panelists will discuss striking a balance between writers and artists, criticism of Indigenous art, and simultaneously writing from art world insiders and the general public.

The Mellon Indigenous Arts program is proud to be a co-sponsor of the symposium, which includes the following events (times listed here are EST):

Saturday, February 27

  • 1:00–1:10 pm: Welcome and introduction
  • 1:10–2:15 pm: Keynote address: heather ahtone: “Shifting the Paradigm: A Love Story,” 65 minutes
  • 2:15–2:30 pm: Break, 15 minutes. The audience can ask questions during breaks.
  • 2:30–3:00 pm: Nancy Marie Mithlo: “Native Arts Scholarship: How-to, What and Why?,” 30 minutes
  • 3:00–3:30 pm: America Meredith: “Tribal Affiliations in Art Writing,” 30 minutes
  • 3:30–3:45 pm: Break, 15 minutes,
  • 3:45–4:45 pm: Roundtable Discussion: “Artist and Art Writer Relationships”
  • 4:45–5:15 pm: Open Forum, 30 minutes

Sunday, February 28

  • 1:00–1:30 pm: Adrienne Lalli Hills, “The Nuts and Bolts of Exhibition Text,” 30 minutes
  • 1:30–2:15 pm: Miranda Belarde Lewis, “Writing for Depth in the White Cube,” 45 minutes
  • 2:15–2:30 pm: Break, 15 minutes
  • 2:30–3:30 pm: Roundtable Discussion: “Walking the Line: Reaching Art World Insiders and the General Public,” 1 hour
  • 3:30–3:45 pm: Break, 15 minutes
  • 3:45–4:45 pm: Roundtable Discussion: “Criticism of Indigenous Art of the Americas,” 1 hour
  • 4:45–5:15 pm: Open Forum, 30 minutes
  • 5:15–5:20 pm: c:a+m writing workshop introduction

Click here to register for the symposium and for schedule details.

More about the speakers and their presentations can be found here.