Reimagining Native/American Art
What happens when Native American and American art is seen together, rather than in separate places? Might we look at these artworks in a new way? What stories and connections emerge from this new way of being together?
These are some of the questions that guided a collaboratively reimagined suite of galleries. This Indigenous-led, consensus-based curatorial experiment is based on Dakota philosophies and ways of being. It includes thematic installations that center “place”, honor the living land, explore the power of relationality — the idea that we are all connected and build relationships based on this awareness – and ends with a reflection, inviting visitors to join us in imagining the future we wish to have. What does it look and feel like? How do we build it together?
“Relationality” is at the heart of our curatorial practice—every aspect of this collaboration was shaped by being together, listening, honoring lived knowledge, and respecting points of view. Mia curators worked with Andrea Carlson (Ojibwe; artist), Jordan Poorman Cocker (Gáuigú (Kiowa) Nation; curator), Bridget R. Cooks (curator and professor, University of California in Irvine), Dakota Hoska (Oglála Lakȟóta, Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee; Denver Art Museum curator), and Darlene St. Clair (Mdewakaƞtuƞwaƞ Dakota, Lower Sioux; professor, St. Cloud State University). We thank Gwen Westerman (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate; poet, artist, professor, Mankato State University) for reading two of her poems and Šišóka Dúta (Bdé Hdakíŋyaŋ Oyáŋke, Dakota language educator and translator) for bringing the Dakota language into the galleries. We also thank Nicole MartinRogers (White Earth Ojibwe Nation descendant, independent consultant, Indigenous evaluator) for working with community members in focus groups to help shape our final themes.