Modern TRADITIONS Curator Statement
I feel the responsibility of continuing our culture while expressing our place in a contemporary context is a challenge that is dealt with through many different aspects of visual art. The challenges within paradigms of cultural expression refer to centuries of mis-education and racism, which then influence perceived standards about who we are and efforts to define us in broad terms. Not just the colonizers (or “the others”) view of us but how or why do we accept and ultimately embrace those histories or narratives that have been written for us?
Challenging these ideas of what is considered tradition is important to help us take a critical look at our histories and how those narratives have been influenced for particular agendas throughout history. Today we are voicing and expressing our histories as we experience them and are looking ahead for the future generations to know that we are imparting the importance of self-representation; speaking with our own voice, for our people, in this time.
It is my pleasure and honor to introduce these artists to the Chicago community. It is also my hope that viewers of this exhibit will come away with a deeper understanding of the diversity of Native American contemporary artistic expression. This diversity is reflective of the richness of our relatives and cultures across this continent. This collection also honors the tradition of this place, Chicago, as having been long before European invasion (and still today) a nexus for the exchange of ideas and an important crossroads for people and their respective cultures.
Chris Pappan (Kanza, Osage, Lakota) 2019
Participating Artists: Melissa Melero-Moose (Northern Paiute) Andrea Carlson (Ojibwe) Silvester Hustito (Zuni) Thomas "Breeze" Marcus (Tohono O’odham and Akimel O’odham, Ponca, Otoe)