There is a vast resource of
artistic talent in North America, which often, goes unseen, unnoticed or is
under-appreciated. It is represented in the stunning output of work by aboriginal men and
women artists representing every First Nation from Haida, Tlingit and Kwagiutl in the
Northwest, Canada and Alaska - Hopi, Zuni, Navajo and Santa Clara in the Southwest -
Sioux, Cherokee, Arapaho and Kiowa from the Great Plains - Seminole, Chippewa, Mohawk and
Passamaquoddy from the Eastern Woodlands. There are more than 500 culturally diverse
tribes recognized in the United States, along with several hundred other unrecognized
tribes, from which individual artists reveal the diversity of their personalities, their
cultures, their lands and their personal experiences.
Many Native American artists, exposed to or
trained in European art traditions, combine the techniques, forms and imagery of their
ancestors with new cultural and market influences. The juxtaposition of Native cultures
and European culture has influenced the work of all the artists in this exhibition --
ancient traditions and modern life, public exposure and private rituals.
In an essay for the exhibition, Truman Lowe
and Jo Ortel state, Just as traditional Native American arts generally have been
influenced over the years, by trade, exchange, and contact with non-Native cultures,
individual artists and artisans have likewise brought their unique, personal vision to
bear upon their creations. The artists included in this exhibition are no exception.
Head, Heart and Hands seeks to
introduce the public to the multiplicity of ways contemporary Native American artists are
incorporating their Native art and craft traditions into their individual artistic vision.
We hope to highlight and celebrate the rich variety of work being produced by the very
best of contemporary Native American craft artists.