Native Art History Is Made Here

<p>Artist: Allan Houser (Migration)</p>

Artist: Allan Houser (Migration)

Eiteljorg Museum is celebrating past indigenous fellowship artists. Every other year since the Eiteljorg’s inception, a group of artists is selected to create art pieces for the galleries. The “Native Art History Is Made Here” this year showcases previous fellowship artwork from 1999 and 2001. 

“Each artist receives an unrestricted monetary award, and the Eiteljorg Museum purchases artwork from each fellow to add to its collection of contemporary Native art, considered one of the best such collections in the world,” Eiteljorg public relations manager Bryan Corbin said. “The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art fellowship program remains unparalleled in its holistic approach, with exhibition, publication, acquisitions, monetary awards, and opportunities for the public and staff to engage with the artists all part of the program.”  

“Native Art History Is Made Here” spotlights contemporary artworks that have not been on display for quite some time. “It is an excellent opportunity for Eiteljorg guests to experience the works for the first time, or get reacquainted with them,” Corbin said. “The yearlong exhibition highlights the works of artists who are recognized today as some of the most influential and best-known contemporary Native artists.”

When they first walk into the gallery, guests will see eye-catching works by 1999 fellow George Morrison of the Grand Portage Band Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. His artwork incorporates abstract and intricate styles.

There are many different types of artwork on display, including sculpture, printmaking, installation and multimedia. Examining each artwork to understand the “why” while filling in the history behind each piece can be challenging because of the exhibit's eclectic design, Eiteljorg guest service associate Ashleigh Deck said. The exhibit doesn’t give all of “XYZs,” but it is interesting to try and step into the artist’s perspective. 

Ruth Cuthand_Anxiety.jpeg

Ruth Cuthand (Plains Cree / Scottish / Irish), Anxiety, 2022

Glass beads, thread, backing 

Museum Purchase from the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship

Photo Courtesy of the Eiteljorg Museum

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Natalie Ball (Klamath Tribes [Klamath / Modoc]), Sheriff’s Star, 2022 

Neon glass, textiles, Billy Jack hat, ribbon, paint, deer hide 

Loan from Gochman Family Collection 

Image courtesy of the artist and Bortolami Gallery, New York 

Photographer: Guang Xu

Courtesy of the Eiteljorg Museum

Artwork by 1999 Fellows include: George Morrison (Grand Portage Band Minnesota Chipewa Tribe), Marianne Nicholson (Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First [Kwakwaka’wakw] Nation), Rick Rivet (Sahtu/Métis), Lorenzo Clayton (Diné [Navajo]), Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes) and Truman Lowe (Ho-Chunk). 

Artwork by 2001 Fellows include: Allan Houser (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache), Rick Bartow (Mad River Band of the Wiyot Tribe), Joe Feddersen (Colville Confederated Tribes), Teresa Marshall (Millbrook First Nation Mi’kmaq), Shelly Niro (Bay of Quinte Mohawk) and Susie Silook (Yup’ik / Iñupiaq).

“The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship is a radical undertaking; it prioritizes Native voices and lived experiences over Western narratives still imposed on Native lives. Native art history is ever evolving, and it continues to be written here,” Corbin says.

Native Art History Is Made Here is on display in Hurt and Harvey Galleries and is sponsored by the law firm Faegre Drinker.  Dorene Red Cloud (Oglala Lakota) is the curator of the exhibit. It runs from April 10, 2023-March 3, 2024. 

University students with student IDs have free admission at the Eiteljorg. The 2023 Fellowship exhibition, UNSETTLE/Converge, opens Saturday, Nov. 11, and continues through February 25, 2024, in the Eiteljorg Museum’s special exhibitions gallery. Visit for details.

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