Exploring Contemporary Native American Art

Engage with the West Michigan Woman Community!

This winter has certainly left many people looking for different ways to get out of the house and enjoy what the West Michigan community has to offer.

Art is one of the many elements our area thankfully has much of. To honor and explore contemporary Native American art, head to the Muskegon Museum of Art (MMA) for three can't-miss exhibits by Native American artists.

The Art of the People: Contemporary Anishinaabe Artists, organized by the MMA in partnership with the Grand Valley State University Art Gallery and guest curator Jason Quigno, is the MMA's major winter show. The MMA is also presenting Jim Denomie: Challenging the Narrative and Levi Rickert: Standing Rock, Photographs of an Indigenous Movement.

The Art of the People: Contemporary Anishinaabe Artists

Runs through February 28, 2021 at the Muskegon Museum of Art; Opens January 2021 at the GVSU Art Gallery

The Art of the People features artwork by nationally recognized and early career contemporary Native American artists in a wide array of media that combines cultural traditions, imagery, and themes. The invitational show will appear concurrently at the Muskegon Museum of Art and Grand Valley State University Art Gallery. Incorporating sculpture, painting, ceramics, beadwork, mixed media, and photography, the exhibition explores the ways in which these artists express their experiences in both traditional and non-traditional media, techniques, and subject matter. Through representational and abstract imagery and design, the artists address issues of craft, history, identity, social and political justice, and popular culture. The Art of the People is underwritten by Warner Norcross + Judd, LLP and the DTE Energy Foundation.

contemporary-native-american-art-1Jonathan Thunder, Quarantine at Gramma's House

Jim Denomie: Challenging the Narrative

Runs through March 10, 2021

This exhibition, organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art, features new and favorite paintings by Jim Denomie, a nationally known and award-winning Anishinaabe artist. His colorful, humorous paintings directly address historical, political and cultural issues facing Native Americans in the U.S. Using traditional imagery, stereotypes, comic symbols and pop culture imagery. Denomie presents playful, alluring narratives that, on closer inspection, reveal biting and thought-provoking challenges to historic and contemporary misperceptions, prejudices and injustices. Learn more at Bockley Gallery.

contemporary-native-american-art-2Jim Denomie, Four Days and Four Nites Two Moons

Levi Rickert: Standing Rock, Photographs of an Indigenous Movement

Runs through February 28, 2021

Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. This collection of photographs documents Rickert's journey to Standing Rock in 2016 as part of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. These images capture not just the news making conflicts and clashes between protestors and private security firms at the site, but also the day-to-day experiences of the men and women joined in their shared call for action. The exhibition is underwritten by Shape Corp.

contemporary-native-american-art-3Photograph at Standing Rock by Levi Rickert

The Muskegon Museum of Art galleries and store are open 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, and are closed on Mondays. Safety protocols include limited occupancy in galleries and other public spaces, social distancing, enhanced cleaning procedures, and requiring visitors and staff to wear masks. Learn more and see updates at Muskegon Museum of Art.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.

Photo courtesy of Le'Ana Asher, Aunt Becky.


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