Three Pokagon Band Artists Contribute to Exhibition at Snite Museum of Art

Christine Rapp-Morseau, Wisgak Gokbenagen (Black Ash Basket), 2018 wisgak, wishbemishkos (black ash wood, sweet grass) © Christine Marie Rapp-Morseau. Image credit: Big Idea Company

Published February 9, 2019

Gallery exhibit open through May 18, 2019

DOWAGIAC, Mich.  — The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is pleased to announce 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, 2019.

Citizens David Martin, Christine Rapp-Morseau, and Jason S. Wesaw will have art on display. An opening reception was held Friday night, February 8 at the Snite Museum.

David Martin, Men’s Woodland Contemporary Beadwork (detail), 1989–93, 2018–19, Leather, canvas, Czech glass beads, Japanese Delica glass beads, bald eagle feathers, © David Martin. Image courtesy of Frances Jacobus-Parker

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.

Jason S. Wesaw, Ashokmagé Waboyan (Healing Blanket), 2014 hand-dyed and hand-sewn muslin, flannel, transfer prints and cyanotypes on Rives BFK with oil pastel, polyester ribbon, and artificial sinew © Jason S. Wesaw. Image courtesy of the artist

Rapp-Morseau will have a black ash basket in the exhibit that was actually 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 says she’s 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,” says 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.

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 installationPeelatchiwaaxpáash/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. 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. 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.

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