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Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest

Bear bracelet, Jesse Brillon (Haida), 2003 • 22-karat gold. Height 1½ in. • Private collection. • Photo © Denis Finnin/AMNH • Photo courtesy of American Museum of Natural History • 
Bear bracelet, Jesse Brillon (Haida), 2003
22-karat gold. Height 1½ in.
Private collection.
Photo © Denis Finnin/AMNH
Photo courtesy of American Museum of Natural History
Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest
NEW YORK  •  American Museum of Natural History  •  Ongoing
This exhibition features some 500 pieces of historic and contemporary jewelry and artifacts that document techniques, materials, and styles that have evolved over the past 100 years as Native American jewelers have adapted to technical, societal, and commercial changes, transforming their traditional craft into not only a cultural, but artistic expression. More specifically the exhibition showcases artwork from the Haida, Kwakwaka'wakw, Tsimshian, Gitxsan, Nisga'a, Tlingit, Nuu-chah-nulth, Haisla, and Salish tribes of the Northwest, and the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, Santo Domingo, Taos and other Pueblos, Apache, and Tohono O'odham tribes of the Southwest, as well as a selection of contemporary totem sculptures, historic and contemporary masks, boxes, weavings, figures, pottery, and other artworks, many from the Museum's collections.

Also included are videos made by the Museum especially for the exhibition that feature Northwest and Southwest rituals that are strongly connected with the cosmological beliefs of each tribe, plus interviews with contemporary artists, and footage showing the artists at work.

Contemporary artists represented in the exhibition include: Lee Yazzie, a Navajo master goldsmith and inlay artist; Phil Loretto of Jemez Pueblo, who creates intricately detailed jewelry; Christian White, one of the finest contemporary Haida carvers of argillite sculpture and pendants; and Beau Dick, an outstanding Kwakwaka'wakw mask-maker and goldsmith. Past artists include Bill Reid, one of the first Haida to interpret the themes of the Northwest Coast Indians in modern works; Charles Edenshaw, a Haida carver who created innovative totems in argillite and silver; and Charles Loloma and Preston Monongye, groundbreaking Hopi artists who introduced modernist style into Southwestern jewelry.

American Museum of Natural History Web Site

Contact: Tel: (1) 212 769 58 00

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