The Smithsonian American Art Museum has announced that artists Joe Feddersen (Arrow Lakes/Okanagan), the duo of Lily Hope (Tlingit) and Ursala Hudson (Tlingit), Erica Lord (Athabaskan/Iñupiat), Geo Neptune (Passamaquoddy) and Maggie Thompson (Fond du Lac Ojibwe) will be featured in the craft invitational at its Renwick Gallery in 2023. Together, the four artists and one artist duo present a fresh and nuanced vision of Native American art. The artists were selected for their work that expresses the honors and burdens that Native artists balance as they carry forward their cultural traditions. These artists highlight principles of respect, reciprocity, and responsibility through their work that addresses themes of environmentalism, displacement, and cultural connectedness.
The Renwick Invitational 2023 is the 10th installment of the series. Established in 2000, it showcases mid-career and emerging makers deserving of wider national recognition. The guest curator for the 2023 exhibition is Lara M. Evans (Cherokee Nation), director of the Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The exhibition is scheduled to open in May 2023.
The six artists were selected by a panel of distinguished jurors, each with a wide knowledge of contemporary Native American makers. The panel included Evans, Miranda Belarde-Lewis (Zuni/Tlingit), independent curator and the Jill and Joe McKinstry Endowed Faculty Fellow of Native North American Indigenous Knowledge at the University of Washington’s iSchool, and Anya Montiel (Mexican/Tohono O’odham descent), curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Feddersen (b. 1953, resides Omak, Washington) is a celebrated printmaker, glass artist and basket weaver. He is known for uniting urban imagery and Indigenous design through simple geometric “glyphs” that poignantly reflect on people’s relationship with the environment.
Artist duo and sisters Hope (b. 1980, resides Juneau, Alaska) and Hudson (b. 1987, resides Pagosa Springs, Colorado) are daughters of renowned weaver Clarissa Rizal (Tlingit). They work in the Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving styles. Hope is an artist, teacher, community facilitator and storyteller who intertwines Indigenous techniques and spiritual teachings in her work. Hudson, a graphic designer by training, is known for her bold and award-winning designs.
Lord (b. 1978, resides Santa Fe, New Mexico), an interdisciplinary artist born to a Finnish American mother and an Athabaskan/Iñupiat father. She explores themes of displacement, cultural identity and cultural limbo within the contemporary Indigenous experience. Her work is inspired by the personal experience of perpetually moving between locations, cultures and identities. Lord’s fiber and weaving works featured in the exhibition challenge notions of self, community and belief.
Neptune (b. 1988, resides Motahkomikuk, Maine) is a master basket maker who is two-spirit, a term that acknowledges different gender identities and societal/spiritual roles present among Native people of North America. They learned basketry at a young age from their grandmother, master artist Molly Neptune (Passamaquoddy), and approach weaving as an inherently sacred practice. Neptune takes inspiration from traditional forms and interjects their own artistic perspective and a bright palette into their work.
Thompson (b. 1990, resides Minneapolis, Minnesota), a fiber artist and designer, derives inspiration from her Ojibwe heritage, exploring family history and broader themes relating to her Native American experience. Thompson expands the understanding of textiles by incorporating multimedia elements like photographs, beer caps and 3D-printed objects into her work.
An accompanying catalog will feature essays by Belarde-Lewis, Evans and Montiel.
About the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is home to one of the most significant and inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and G streets N.W. and is open 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. and is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.
[Source: American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery press release]