“Minnesota” comes from the Dakota words “mni sota” which have been translated as “clouds reflecting in water,” “smoky water,” or “cloudy water,” all of which illustrate how our understanding of place has been defined by our surroundings. We use it here as an analogy to describe the innovative shifts of traditional arts throughout time to reflect the current landscape. As a culture whose arts are generally expected to evoke the past, it is not often that innovation is at the forefront of discussion regarding Native American arts. In fact, the historical objects we are so familiar with are only a snapshot of time, and represent a small fraction of the creative arts of Native peoples. Each generation’s work has built upon what has been established by the previous generations, incorporating new materials and media. Innovation is the soul of living art. Each generation, from historic times to the present, was creating contemporary art. The works included in Mni Sota illustrate the importance and necessity of both tradition and innovation in sustaining cultural continuity.
The works of these 17 artists span a wide range of practices from the very old to the very new. They provide stunning examples of the ways in which Native artists of the Minnesota region contribute to the artistic heritage of their people. These artists reflect both the unfaltering influences of change and the strength of our tribal nations. The dialog that emerges between pieces in the exhibit generally categorized as “traditional” and those categorized as “contemporary” emphasizes the dynamic nature of culture, encouraging a broader understanding of tradition. The works help us examine how these categorizing terms are associated with specific types of Native American art work, and how these associations came to be. The line that has historically existed between traditional and contemporary begins to dissolve as we recognize that innovation is and always has been a part of our traditions.
TWEED Museum of Art 29.05.2012 - 26.08.2012
Website & source : TWEED Museum of Art
Website : City of Duluth
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