January 17, 2019 - April 28, 2019
Native Fiber brings together a breathtaking array of work by contemporary Native American fiber artists from throughout the Great Lakes. Curated by Karen Ann Hoffman, a renowned Iroquois raised bead worker, the exhibition features an expansive definition of fiber art, from quillwork to cordage, bead work, weaving, birch biting, leatherwork, and quilting. Under these artists’ hands, Indigenous fiber art traditions are both maintained and advanced, communicating timeless stories and addressing modern themes.
Illuminating the astonishing ways Native American artists explore and alter extraordinary materials—black ash, birch, fur, and corn husk, to name a few—the exhibition comprises the work of thirty-one artists and one artist guild, representing twenty tribal nations. Every artist’s work falls under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 and is considered authentic Indigenous art.
Many of the works in the exhibition were created specifically for Native Fiber. Repeating iconography and subjects run throughout, including symbols of healing, forgiveness, women’s experiences, subjugation, and transformation. Together, the works attest to the diverse life and vitality of Indigenous fiber arts today.
The artists featured in the exhibition include Lily Antone-Plass (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Sarah Berthelet-Villa (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Shirley Brauker (Little River Band of Ottawa), Kelly Church (Ottawa/Potawatomi), Wilma Cook (Mohawk), Debra Fabian (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Karen Elise Goulet (White Earth Ojibwe), Martha Gradolf (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska), Carla Hemlock (Kanienkehaka Mohawk Nation), Karen Ann Hoffman (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Terri Hom (Lac Courte Oreilles), Samantha Jacobs (Seneca), Holly John (Seneca), Penny Kagigebi (White Earth Ojibwe), Rick Kagigebi (Lac Courte Oreilles), James Kelly (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Pat Kruse (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), Julia Marden (Aquinnah), Linda Lou Metoxen (Diné), Penny Minner (Seneca), Native Roots Arts Guild (Iroquois), Salisha Ninham (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Melanie Tallmadge Sainz (Ho-Chunk), Scott Shoemaker (Myaamia), Stefanie Sikorowski (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin/Chickasaw Nation), Talon Silverhorn (Shawnee), Christopher Sweet (Ho-Chunk), Chholing Taha (Cree), Jeremy D. Turner (Shawnee), Shannon Marie Turner (Diné), Michelle D. Watson (Diné), and Jason Wesaw (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi).
This exhibition is supported by grants from the Maihaugen Foundation, Inc., and the Wisconsin Arts Board.