First American Art Magazine No. 21, Winter 2018/19 - Page 41

incorporated patterns from Acoma Pueblo pottery into his textile designs. His dress, Ancient Resonance, was specif- ically designed for this exhibition and is displayed with an early 20th-century Acoma Pueblo olla, or water jar. The formal gown is constructed of white silk organza with an overlay of cutout black fabric that forms the striking geometric design. The viewer can see the direct link between the two artworks. Other examples of this creative connection can be seen in historic and current baskets. Cherish Nebeshanze Parrish (Potawatomi-Odawa) used techniques to create her 2011 basketry sculpture, Mother’s Womb, also used in Pokagon Potawatomi black ash hamper baskets from the early 20th century. Historical Seminole and Miccosukee patchwork clothing sits side by side with more recently made patchwork pieces. Black-and-red Ipath X Apache shoes designed by Douglas Miles (San Carlos Apache-Akimel O’odham) are next to his painted skateboard. The label reads, “Miles was one of the first Native artists to paint on skateboards. Now he also designs shoes. He sees a connection between skateboarding and the Apache warrior tradition, since both involve concentra- tion and stamina.” The narrative connects cultural activity, historical people, visual art, and commercial design. An Alaskan Chilkat blanket from the 1890s hangs directly behind Tlingit artist Preston Singletary’s 2018 glass sculpture, Raven and the Box of Daylight. Although rela- tionships between the formline designs in his sculpture and the historic weaving are obvious, Singletary uses a much different medium for creating his art. Through his work, Singletary also pays homage to his teachers and mentors, his Tlingit great-grandparents as well as fellow master glass artisans. Working with artists from across the world—the Tlingit on the Pacific Northwest Coast, the Maori of the South Pacific, and glass artists from Sweden—Singletary manages to intertwine time as well as place. While many Native artists find influences in their own cultural histories, many Native artists also seek inspiration elsewhere. Opinions differ when it comes to coupling historic Indigenous art with art that is being created presently. Some would argue that living Native artists cannot help but insert the past into their art. “The past is never irrelevant,” says Della Warrior (Otoe-Missouria), director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe. “It forms the basis of who we are as Indigenous people. One needs to consider the audience visiting the exhi- bition. A large percentage of them would be international visitors who still think Native people live in tipis or are extinct.” Warrior continues, “This was a diffi- cult exhibit to conceptualize” with such a diversity of artists and tribal cultures. “Having the old items in there should give people pause to wonder how people [who] were labeled ‘ignorant savages’ could make such beautiful, intricate work.… Let’s hope the art of today’s world is relevant in the future, and that artists can draw upon it for cultural expression WINTER 2018/19 | 39