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Oklahoma State University

OSU Museum of Art Announces Exhibition Celebrating Contemporary Native Women Artists

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The OSU Museum of Art is pleased to introduce From the Belly of Our Being: art by and about Native creation on view from Sept. 27, 2016 through Jan. 28, 2017.

For Indigenous people, culture is often passed to a new generation through oral traditions and the retelling of tribal narratives, including tribal creation stories. It is here that we find the stories of women who made the world. In From the Belly of Our Being, 20 contemporary artists – and Native women – explore how the feminine forces in their tribal creation stories continue to inform the ideals of feminine behavior and gendered roles.

The artworks, including sculpture, painting, jewelry, ceramics and installation, reference those creation stories, and provide an opportunity for the artists to express how these forces live with them, through them, and within the art. From the Belly of Our Being celebrates the relationship between traditions and modernity in Native culture.

In May of 2016, the OSU Museum of Art received a significant $15,000 award from the National Endowment for the Arts in the form of an NEA Art Works grant to support this exhibition. OSU alumna Jeanene Hulsey and her husband Ron provided additional funding to support the extensive programming that accompanies the exhibition, while the Chickasaw Nation provided the funding to produce a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue that will be made available to visitors.

Among the dynamic list of programs scheduled to occur with the exhibition, there is the opportunity for community members to join artist-in-residence (and Stillwater local) Anita Fields and contribute to her ceramic installation piece. This collaborative work, which will be on view in the exhibition, invites visitors to participate in its creation and its exploration of how mothers care for us as the earth cares for us. Other programs include a roundtable discussion between the curator and artists, a guest lecture from legal scholar Sarah Deer addressing the shocking level of domestic assault against Native women today, Family Day beading and storytelling workshops for all ages, a talk from heather ahtone (exhibition curator), tours, and more.

In addition, a free, public reception will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 5 to 7 pm. It features a special performance at 6 pm from Roams the Earth, an intertribal dance troupe presenting female-centered dancing, songs, and stories celebrating femininity in Native cultures. Learn more about this calendar of programming at museum.okstate.edu/exhibitions/bellyofourbeing.

From the Belly of Our Being: art by and about Native creation is curated by heather ahtone, James T. Bialac Assistant Curator of Native American & Non-Western Art at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. Artists featured in the exhibition: Keri Ataumbi, Julie Buffalohead, Nanibah Chacon, Anita Fields, Tammy Garcia, Shan Goshorn, Teri Greeves, Linda Lomahaftewa, Cedar Marie, Meryl McMaster, America Meredith, Molly Murphy Adams, Luanne Redeye, Cara Romero, Erin Shaw, C. Maxx Stevens, Marie Watt, Dyani White Hawk, Melanie Yazzie, and Debra Yepa-Pappan.

This project is supported in part by the following: an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Jeanene and Ron Hulsey, Mary Ann and Ken Fergeson, the Chickasaw Nation, the Oklahoma Arts Council, OSU/A&M Board of Regents, and the OSU Museum of Art Advocates. ­­In addition, the OSU Museum of Art would like to extend a thank you to Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, Minn., and the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, NM.

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