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Special exhibit celebrates 25 years of Indian Market art

by By Scott Shoemaker, Ph.D, (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma), the Thomas G. and Susan C. Hoback curator of Native American art, history and culture | Jun 19, 2017

For the local and regional community, the Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival is an important venue for interacting with Native artists and experiencing the diverse Native arts and cultures of North America. In conjunction with this year’s market, the exhibit Indian Market and Festival: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years will open on June 23 and run through July 30. The exhibition features market art added to the museum’s collections through generous donations of patrons and celebrates the market’s many artists.

Susan Folwell -- Love Gun jarThere is much to celebrate. Indian Market could not exist without the artists, who come to the Eiteljorg each June from all over the United States and Canada. Donors, staff and the public have developed deep relationships with the more than 800 artists who have participated in the market over its lifetime. Many of these artists’ works have greatly enhanced the museum’s collection through the Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award and the market’s signature image. These additions help us further our mission — to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the Indigenous peoples of North America.

Starting during the market’s early years, a signature image has been selected from among participating artists’ works. This image is used on T-shirts and in promotional materials to convey the high quality of art market-goers will encounter. Some works that became signature images were acquired for the museum’s permanent collections. These range from paintings by several renowned Native artists to a beaded portrait, Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill by Marcus Amerman (Choctaw).

Marcus Amerman -- Buffalo Bill and Sitting BullAs early as 1993, patrons purchased artworks from market artists and donated them to the museum for the permanent collection. In 2004, a formal purchase prize was created. Consulting with donors who contribute the funds to acquire pieces, the curatorial staff gives presentations on exemplary and important works submitted for judging and chooses several that would help fulfill the museum’s collecting strategy. Then the donors vote on their favorite piece.

Those chosen by the committee are added to the museum collections and represent nearly every category at the market. These encompass the broadest range of Native art visitors can encounter at Indian Market, such as the jar Love Gun by Susan Folwell (Santa Clara Pueblo) or the lidded basket Blue Herons by Ronni Leigh Goeman (Onondaga) and Stonehorse Goeman (Seneca). Both works are exquisite examples of customary and culturally specific art forms that also are innovative.

The signature images and purchase awards add exceptional pieces of Native art from living artists and fill existing gaps in the museum’s collection. These awards help the Eiteljorg demonstrate a continuum of expression and the broad array of creativity of Native artists using a wide range of mediums and their innovative use of materials, forms and design.

Ronni Leigh Goeman and Stonehorse Goeman -- Blue HeronsEven if you can’t attend Indian Market and Festival this year, the exhibition in the Gerald and Dorit Paul Gallery will provide you with the “market experience.” We look forward to what the future holds for Indian Market and Festival and for the artists who help to make it such a wonderful event.





Top image:
Susan Folwell (Santa Clara Pueblo, b. 1970)
Love Gun, 2013
Clay, India ink, bone white slip
Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award, 2013 Indian Market and Festival

Middle image:
Marcus Amerman (Choctaw, b. 1959)
Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull, 2006
Glass size 13 cut, antique and seed beads and size b Nymo nylon thread
Museum Purchase: Indian Market Signature Artist

Bottom image:
Ronni Leigh Goeman (Onondaga, Eel Clan) and Stonehorse Goeman (Seneca)
Blue Herons, 2014
Black ash splint, sweetgrass, moose antler, moose hair, buffalo horn
Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award, 2014 Indian Market and Festival

 

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