"Unbound: Narrative Art of the Plains" Offers Rarely Seen Historic Native American Masterworks, Unveils Contemporary Works by 16 Artists

Jan 21, 2016, 13:11 ET from Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

NEW YORK, Jan. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Vibrant storytelling of society, war and peacetime, repression and expression is found within the historic narrative artworks of Native peoples of the Great Plains. "Unbound: Narrative Art of the Plains," an exhibition opening Saturday, March 12, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in New York, presents rarely seen works by some of the most important figures to have used this style, including Bear's Heart (Southern Cheyenne), Zo-tom (Kiowa) and Long Soldier (Hunkpapa Lakota).

"Unbound" celebrates their contributions and expands on them with the debut of nearly 50 new works by contemporary Native artists commissioned exclusively for this exhibition. Often referred to as "ledger art" because of the many Plains artists who illustrated ledger notebooks in the 19th century, narrative art employs a dynamic range of imagery to express the 'now' of generations of Native people—voices too strong to be bound to any medium.

A press preview is scheduled for Tuesday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, email NMAIPressOffice@si.edu.

The narrative tradition takes root in warrior artists of the 18th century who recorded visionary experiences and successes in battle on buffalo-hide tipis, robes and shirts. As trade with settlers broadened in the 19th century, new media and tools became available to artists, including pencils, crayons, canvas, muslin and paper. Many Native artists recorded their experiences in surplus government accounting notebooks until the 1920s. The "ledger art" style was revived in the 1960s, burgeoned during the American Indian Movement of the 1970s and continues in various media to this day.

Contemporary Native artists selected for "Unbound" include Ronald Burgess (Comanche), Sherman Chaddlesone (Kiowa), David Dragonfly (Blackfeet/Assiniboine), Lauren Good Day Giago (Arikara/Hidatsa/Blackfeet/Plains Cree), Darryl Growing Thunder (Assiniboine/Sioux), Juanita Growing Thunder-Fogarty (Assiniboine/Sioux), Terrance Guardipee (Blackfeet), Vanessa Jennings (Kiowa/Pima), Dallin Maybee (Northern Arapaho/Seneca), Chester Medicine Crow (Apsáalooke [Crow]), Chris Pappan (Osage/Kaw/Cheyenne River Lakota), Joel Pulliam (Oglala Lakota), Martin E. Red Bear (Oglala/Sicangu Lakota), Norman Frank Sheridan (Southern Cheyenne/Arapaho), Dwayne Wilcox (Oglala Lakota) and Jim Yellowhawk (Cheyenne River Lakota).

Support for "Unbound: Narrative Art of the Plains" is provided by Ameriprise Financial.

The museum is located at One Bowling Green in New York City. Social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Join the conversation using #UnboundNarratives.

Media only: Joshua Stevens, 212-514-3823; stevensja@si.edu

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160121/324606 


SOURCE Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian