Art has served as Don’t make me flip my heifer switch shirt . an outlet for indigenous women to carry on their traditional crafts and stories for centuries. They’ve continued to create even while contending with legacies of unimaginable oppression, like the residential and boarding schools many were forced into throughout the 19th century in the United States, in which colonizers attempted to wipe out their culture and assimilate them into a white, Christian way of life.
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Today, their works are heavily referenced in mainstream fashion and design, and often without acknowledgment; indigenous women artists are frequently victims of cultural appropriation Don’t make me flip my heifer switch shirt . It seems undoubtedly related to this erasure that there has yet to be a major retrospective in a major museum devoted to exploring these women—until now. Through August 18, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) is presenting “Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists,” the first major showcase to provide visibility to the indigenous women, both from Canada and the United States, who have repeatedly been ignored in the mainstream art world. Curated by Teri Greeves and Jill Ahlberg Yohe, it features 117 different objects, all made by native women, that span more than 1,000 years, including paintings, sculptures, garments, and more. The artists themselves also range in tribe and location. The project has been a long time coming for curators Yohe and Greeves. The pair have been working on this project for more than four years, and during the acquisition process, the duo worked with an advisory board of 21 different native artists and scholars to ensure that the final selection represented the right mix of region, medium, and tribe.“Neither one of us could speak with authority on all these other nations,” said Greeves, while Yohe added, “To tell a story that’s as rich as this, we can’t tell that story. The board helped us make sure that we were comprehensive in scope.” To accomplish their goal, the curators split the exhibit into three themes: legacy, relationship, and power.
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