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  • Perspective: Every Second Monday in October and Why Not Indigenous Peoples Day?

    by Dorene Red Cloud, assistant curator of Native American art | Oct 09, 2017

    This week of October 9, 2017, will consist of many reminders about one of my least favorite historical figures, Christopher Columbus. For instance, today is Columbus Day observed. Then this Thursday October 12, 2017, it will be the actual 525th anniversary of Columbus arriving, lost, on the shores of the Bahamas. And I have already seen countless advertisements of Columbus Day sales for mattresses, department stores, and what have you, and I can tell you, I am not inspired to shop. And I like to shop!

    Every Columbus Day, observed and actual, I wear all black clothing for it is a day of mourning, in my opinion. Backed by Spain (although he was Italian), Columbus (born Cristoforo Colombo) was in search of a trade route to the Far East. When he arrived in the Caribbean, he believed he had “discovered” India, so he monikered the people (who had welcomed this stranger politely), “Indians.” Because these people were not Christianized, Columbus, during each trip to what is now called Central and South America, claimed the land and resources for Spain. 

    Speaking of resources, Columbus wanted the gold that he saw the people wearing so he began to demand it — and over a short period of time — more and more of it. He invented methods to punish the people who did not procure enough gold in ways I do not care to elaborate. But I can tell you this much, I never wear gold in memoriam of all of the Indigenous people who were tortured and killed for this gold lust.

    Until that time, gold had mainly been collected from the Ivory Coast of Africa. Due to Columbus’ new system of supply and demand, the “idea” of trading slaves from Africa to replace the decreasing gold supply (and thereby create a new market), occurred. Thus, the introduction of transatlantic slavery was born.

    Did you know that Columbus never landed on North American soil and that Columbus Day was not an official federal government holiday until 1937?  So why do we continue to honor Columbus whose influence introduced disease, rape, and massacre, or, the colonization of the Americas? 

    I want to pay homage to the cities in the U.S. whose citizens voted that they would rather observe a celebration honoring Indigenous Peoples Day and not Christopher Columbus. Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Berkeley, California, Phoenix, Arizona; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Asheville, North Carolina; and Ann Arbor, Michigan, are some of the cities that no longer observe Columbus Day. And, who, in my humble opinion, totally rock for taking a stand to say “no, we will no longer celebrate a harbinger of death and colonial figure!”

    For many reasons, it behooves us to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.  Despite the millions of Indigenous peoples who perished as a result of contact with Europeans who travelled to all of the Americas after 1492, we Indigenous peoples are still here.  In the U.S., we are 4 million-strong and growing. There are still several millions of Indigenous peoples in Central and South America too, despite history recording these peoples as Latin Americans. Most of you know and are friends with Indigenous peoples, and we have a lot to offer to not only this country, but to the entire world.

    So the true celebration is in our resiliency and survival, our strength and perseverance, and our sense of humor and personalities.  There are so many, many reasons to retire Columbus, ceremonially and officially. So please join me in greeting one another today (and on Thursday, Oct. 12) with “Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!”

    Dorene Red Cloud (Oglala Lakota) wrote this opinion piece for the Eiteljorg blog.





  • Day of the Dead celebration brings community together

    by Eiteljorg Staff | Sep 25, 2017
    Day of the Dead 2What comes to mind when you conjure up images of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)?  A somber memorial? Gruesome Halloween ghouls? Well, picture vibrant swirling color, lively music, dancing calavaras (skeletons), rhythmic sounds of hammers making punched-tin treasures, laughter as children enjoy delightful papel picado (cut paper) creations, beautiful Catrinas dressed for a parade and elaborate ofrendas (altars) created to honor deceased loved ones. It’s all part of Nopal Cultural’s annual Día de los Muertos Celebration at the Eiteljorg Museum.


    What is
    Día de los Muertos?

    With roots going back thousands of years to indigenous traditions in Mexico, this holiday is a time to gather together to remember and celebrate friends and relatives who have passed on. Day of the Dead has evolved into a diverse festival, celebrated not only in Mexico but in the U.S. and many other countries.

    During this two-day holiday for honoring the dead, tradition holds that souls are allowed to return home and celebrate among the living, if only for a few short hours. Meanwhile, living relatives work hard to clean and decorate gravesites with fragrant, colorful cempasuchil (marigold) flowers and construct elaborate altars with photographs, food and drink. Some communities even hold town-wide festivals culminating in parades and special dances.

    Join us in celebration

    Day of the Dead 1Join Nopal Cultural and the Eiteljorg in celebration on Saturday, Oct. 28. Because this is a special holiday, museum admission will be free to everyone on that date. Festivities include dance performances, art-making, a mercado (marketplace), music, ofrendas, a Catrina parade, artist-in-residence Richard Gabriel, Jr., who specializes in Spanish Colonial tinwork and so much more. The event is sponsored by the Lopez Law Firm and The Penrod Society.

    DAY OF THE DEAD CELEBRATION
    OCT 28
    Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
    FREE Admission

    Day of the Dead image- ofrendaA special exhibit of ofrendas (altars) will be on exhibit in the Lilly Theater from Oct. 10 – Nov. 2 and seeing it is included with the regular museum admission  cost -- with the exception of Oct. 28, when admission to the Eiteljorg Museum is free.























  • Out West™ film screening and discussion: Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine

    by Eiteljorg Staff | Sep 25, 2017
    OutWest





















    The Out West™ programming series explores the positive contributions of the LGBTQ community to the history and cultures of the American West. In the next installment of that series, the Eiteljorg Museum on Oct. 21 will host a screening of the documentary Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine, followed by a panel discussion with the film’s director, Michele Josue, who also was a close friend of Shepard. The film relates the story of Matt’s life and the larger impact of the tragic and fatal hate crime on Oct. 6, 1998 against Matt, who was a gay freshman at the University of Wyoming.

    Excerpt of statement by director Michele Josue:

    “The murder of Matthew Shepard was a devastating tragedy that made countless headlines around the world. As people denounced the hatred and senseless violence that caused Matthew’s death, a much-needed dialogue about hate crimes and intolerance against the LGBT community began and continues to this day. His tragic story brought the reality of inequality and vicious, irrational contempt into the public consciousness and set the stage for the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2009.

    “Though framed through a very personal lens, Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine tells a universal story that highlights the responsibility we have now to make sure young people around the world are not at risk of falling victim to the same story ending Matt was.”


    Image caption:

    Filmmaker Michele Josue is seen in this personal photograph with her childhood friend, Matthew Shepard. Josue is the director of a documentary film, Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine that will be screened at the Eiteljorg on Oct. 21 followed by a discussion with the director

     

    OUT WEST™
    AT THE EITELJORG
    OCT 21
    Saturday, 1 p.m.
    The event is included with regular museum admission. Eiteljorg members are free. 

     





  • Contemporary art in the spotlight in months ahead

    by Bryan Corbin, editor, Storyteller Magazine | Sep 12, 2017
    In_Their_Honor_042

    Fall is an exciting time for Native American contem­porary art at the Eiteljorg. Two ongoing exhibitions, In Their Honor and The Geometry of Expression, examine the work of several Native contemporary artists. These are prelude to one of the most important contemporary art shows the Eiteljorg has ever staged: Native Art Now!, opening Veterans Day weekend.

    The current and upcoming exhibitions exemplify the broad continuum of Native expression, often with con­ceptual pieces, upending the notion that Native art is narrow in its mediums and styles.

    In_Their_Honor_043“We in Indianapolis can be proud of the fact that the Eiteljorg has one of the nation’s best collections of contemporary Native art, and visitors over coming months can experience many intriguing examples of works by today’s artists,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said.

    Located in the Hurt and Harvey galleries, In Their Honor pays homage to five influential Native contemporary artists, now deceased, who were past fellows in the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship.

    Visitors will be engaged by the expressive sculptures by Allan Houser, poignant paint­ings and prints from George Morrison and Harry Fonseca, animal-human transformational figures by John Hoover and compelling paintings and sculptures by Rick Bartow. All five artists were groundbreakers whose works were exhibited in numerous museums and universities and who opened doors to the art world for a new generation of contemporary Native artists.

    Produced by Jennifer Complo McNutt, Eiteljorg curator of contemporary art, In Their Honor will be on exhibit through April 1, 2018.

    Kay WalkingStick -- Wallawa Memory

    Nearby in the museum’s Myrta Pulliam Gallery of Photography, prints by three living Eiteljorg Fellows — Kay WalkingStick, Anna Tsouhlarakis and Wendy Red Star — use geometry in thought-provoking ways and undoubtedly will foster discussion. The exhibit, The Geometry of Expression, was produced by Dorene Red Cloud, assistant curator of Native American art, and will be up through Jan. 7, 2018.

    Both exhibits build anticipation for the Nov. 11 public opening of Native Art Now!, a retro­spective of some of the archetypal work of Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship artists over the past 20 years. The 39 works, some of them newly purchased and not shown before, will include paintings, photography, sculpture and three large installations in the special exhibit gallery.

    Native Art Now! will be accompanied Nov. 11-12 by a convening of scholars, curators and many of the living Eiteljorg Fellows who will participate in a discussion about challenges facing contemporary Native artists today, as well as a preview of an upcoming TV documentary about the artists.

    Once it closes Jan. 28, Native Art Now! will go on tour as a traveling exhibition to other cities to present the work of these artists to broader audiences. In conjunction with Native Art Now!, the Eiteljorg is publishing a major survey book that reviews several decades of contemporary Native art and is authored by many of the most prominent authors in the field.


    CONTEMPORARY NATIVE ART ON EXHIBIT AT THE EITELJORG

    In Their Honor, an ongoing exhibit of the work of Rick Bartow (Wiyot), Harry Fonseca (Nisenan Maidu/Hawaiian/Portuguese), John Hoover (Aleut), Allan Houser (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache) and George Morrison (Ojibwe), in the Hurt and Harvey galleries, through April 1.

    The Geometry of Expression, an ongoing exhibit featuring the work of Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee), Wendy Red Star (Crow), and Anna Tsouhlarakis (Navajo/Creek/Greek), in the Myrta Pulliam Gallery of Photography through Jan. 7.

    Native Art Now!, a traveling exhibit of iconic contemporary Native art from the permanent collection of the Eiteljorg Museum, in the special exhibit gallery Nov. 11-Jan 28.


    Image Captions:

    Top two images: 
    Works by five artists who participated in the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship are now part of the In Their Honor exhibition in the Hurt and Harvey galleries.

    Lower image:
    Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee)
    Wallowa Memory, 2003
    lithograph
    Gift: Courtesy of the artist

     

    This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Storyteller magazine. 

     





  • Gund Lecture examines early 19th century depictions of Native Americans in art

    by Eiteljorg Staff | Aug 30, 2017

    'Snake Indians', 1840, by Alfred Jacob Miller
    Mary Peterson Zundo is a Ph.D. candidate in American Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. On Oct. 14, she will present the Eiteljorg’s annual Gund Lecture in Western art in an exciting program titled Fantasia on the Prairie: Plains Warriors, Arabic Equestrians, and Art on the American Frontier, 1800-1850.

    Fantasia on the Prairie will examine depictions of Native American equestrianism within the sociopolitical and multicul­tural contexts of colonial encounter in the American West, and American artistic exchange in post-Napoleonic France. Including art from the Eiteljorg collection, the lecture will explore the artistic, cultural and political contexts that informed paintings of the American West in the first half of the 19th century and their lasting impact on the ways in which artists depicted Native peoples.

    A focal point for the lecture will be Snake Indians, an 1840 oil painting by American artist Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874), displayed in the Eiteljorg’s Gund Gallery of Western Art. “Snake Indians,” referenced in Miller’s title, was a term used by white travelers to describe members of the Shoshone, Bannock and Northern Paiute tribes of the Great Basin. This program has been made possible through a matching grant from Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

     

    Gund Lecture Series Speaker:
    Mary Peterson Zundo
    Fantasia on the Prairie: Plains Warriors, Arabic Equestrians, and Art on the American Frontier, 1800-1850
    Saturday, Oct. 14 1–2:30 p.m., Clowes Court
    Lecture is included with museum admission and is free for museum members
    Sponsored by: 

     

    Image caption: 

    Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1844), 
    Snake Indians, 1840,
    oil on canvas.
    The Gund Collection of Western Art Gift of the George Gund Family

     

     



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