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Wednesday, 30 August 2017 15:43

Native American exhibitions, symposium

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In the WCU Fine Art Museum main gallery through Dec. 8 is the nationally traveling exhibition “Return from Exile: Contemporary Southeastern Indian Art,” curated by Tony A. Tiger, Bobby C. Martin, and Jace Weaver.

The exhibition features more than 30 contemporary Southeastern Native American artists working in a variety of media including painting, drawing, printmaking, basketry, sculpture, and pottery. “Return from Exile” is one of the first major exhibitions to focus on contemporary artists from tribal nations with an historical connection to the Southeastern United States. These include the so-called Five Civilized Tribes, the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Muscogee (or Creek), and Seminole, all of whom were forcibly removed in the 1830s to present-day Oklahoma as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The title of the exhibition represents the return of these artists to their ancestral homelands.

The WCU Fine Art Museum received a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host this exhibition and organize a one-day symposium focused on contemporary Native American art. Speakers include artists with work in the exhibition as well as local artists. The symposium will be held on from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 10, followed by a reception honoring the “Return from Exile” exhibition from 5 to 7 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. The symposium includes a ticketed keynote performance from Canadian First Nation electronic music group A Tribe Called Red at 7:30 p.m. For details visit

Traveling “Return from Exile” to the Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center and reprinting the catalogue has been made possible through a number of generous sponsors. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks also to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, The Sequoyah Fund, and the WCU Campus Theme Committee.

“Return from Exile” is a signature event for the 2017-2018 WCU Campus Theme, "Cherokee: Connections, Culture Community." Throughout the year, the WCU campus explores the chosen theme through art, culture, scholarly work, community collaboration and more. The WCU Fine Art Museum provides another connection to the WCU Campus Theme through the exhibition Ancient Forms, Modern Minds: Contemporary Cherokee Ceramics, on view through November 10. Featuring the work of 11 Cherokee artists, such as Joel Queen and Davy Arch, this exhibition brings together both historic and contemporary pottery techniques.

In addition to exhibitions that connect to the WCU Campus Theme, the Museum is also presenting “WCU Collects: Recent Acquisitions.” This exhibition showcases a selection of artworks recently given to the Museum and includes a number of artists not previously represented in the collection. The WCU Fine Art Museum stewards a collection of more than 1,500 artworks in all media — from painting and printmaking to book arts, sculpture, ceramics, and contemporary craft.

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