Long, Long River: Tradition and Expansion in Native Art

Works by Noah Billie • Elgin Jumper • Jessica Osceola • Jimmy John Osceola

LeRoy Osceola • Samuel Tommie • Oliver Wareham • Daniel McCoy

curated by Anica Sturdivant and Jessica Osceola

January 9 - January 30, 2014

Gallery Talk: February 6 • 5pm

Reception: February 6 • 6pm to 8pm in the Main Gallery

 

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Blending the contemporary while keeping intact the essences of tradition is the focus of Native artists with ties to the Everglades.

All of the artists included in this exhibition work to teach the younger generations of Seminoles traditional skills, to ensure the skills, the language, and the oral histories are not lost to time and not eclipsed by the surrounding generic culture of the American lifestyle. When the exhibition was conceived, the curators began seeking works by Natives, specifically members of the Seminole tribe or extraction thereof, working in a contemporary style. They quickly realized that sustaining traditional methods and aesthetics were a contemporary issue for many Native artists. The exhibition grew from there to incorporate poetry and painter Elgin Jumper, documentarian Samuel Tommie, storyteller and photographer Gordon Oliver Wareham, painter Jimmy Osceola, painter and sculptor LeRoy “Henehayo” Osceola, iconic Seminole artist Noah Billie, activist oriented ceramist and sculptor Jessica Osceola, and pop inspired artist Daniel McCoy. These are a group of Native artist choosing their own path in self-representation, they are building bridges between the traditional identity of one world and responding to the ever changing world we encounter.

Long, Long River: Tradition and Expansion in Native Art offered visitors the opportunity to experience the artistic vision of Native Americans connected to the Everglades. In all works, you will see a passion for the traditions of the past - a passion that creates a community, a nation. In political theory, the nation is an imagined community; it doesn’t exist, it has to be imagined collectively. The nation is imagined through literature, story, poetry, music and art that depict a shared history and shared experience of the world. The exhibition presented a repetoire of images and symbols and there was a visual language which was the medium of preservation, but also the creation of the nation in the imagination.