Three Pokagon Band artists contribute to exhibition at Snite Museum of Art

Published 9:39 am Monday, February 11, 2019

DOWAGIAC — The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians recently announced that three of its tribal citizens have created art selected to be part of an art gallery exhibition at the Snite Museum of Art at The University of Notre Dame. The show, “Revisions: Contemporary Native Art,” takes place in O’Shaughnessy Galleries I, II and III and will run through May 18.

Citizens David Martin, Christine Rapp-Morseau and Jason S. Wesaw will have art on display. An opening reception took place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, at the Snite Museum.

“Revisions: Contemporary Native Art” brings together objects from the Snite Museum collection and selected loans, including works by artists from the local Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. Other artists include Rick Bartow (Mad River Band Wiyot), Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Choctaw and Cherokee), Elisa Harkins (Cherokee and Muscogee (Creek)), Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne and Arapaho), Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish and Kootenai), Marie Watt (Seneca), and Melanie Yazzie (Diné (Navajo)).

The exhibition is anchored by the large-scale installation Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Medicine Crow (Raven) and the 1880 Crow Peace Delegation by Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke (Crow)). This exhibition focuses on strategies of revision, reuse and appropriation in contemporary Native art, according to organizers. The participating artists — who hail from diverse backgrounds, tribes and generations — share an interest in the circulation and reconfiguration of forms over time, across space and between cultures. Some address the appropriation of Native culture by settler society, while others repurpose found objects, images and texts from tribal history, family archives and popular culture. In media ranging from print to textile to video, their works reflect on and reshape issues of inheritance, colonization, authenticity and the politics of representation, organizers said.

The exhibition is organized by Frances Jacobus-Parker, visiting curator at the Snite Museum of Art, with the assistance of Larissa Nez (Diné/Navajo), Notre Dame Class of ’19.

Martin’s contribution of regalia bead work is a traditional medium, but with a new interpretation. He first began bead work as a teenager and continues to explore new ways of creating art through it.

Wesaw’s displayed artwork will be a textile piece in which he hand-dyed the fabrics, sewed them together, then ornamented the piece with transfer prints of old Pokagon treaties.

Rapp-Morseau will have a black ash basket in the exhibit that was commissioned by the Snite Museum. This basket is the first contemporary object by a Pokagon Band artist to join Snite Museum’s collection. This is her second basket that will be kept in a permanent museum collection. Her first is at Epcot at Disney World. Rapp-Morseau said she is proud to show that Pokagon people are still making baskets today.

“The Pokagon tradition of black ash baskets is of course incredibly rich, involving many, many talented individuals and families,” said Frances Jacobus-Parker, visiting curator for the Snite Museum. “I’m very glad that the museum will now be able to represent one example of that local tradition, and that we can do so through Christine’s own particular approach to basket making.”

To learn more about the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, contact Paige Risser at (269) 783-6199.