The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, part of Florida State University, presents a group exhibition featuring more than 100 artworks by 12 Native American artists. Their work expands the conceptual framework of Native American art made in Florida today and provides a fuller understanding of the complexities of issues within the art of the Seminole diaspora.
“Reclaiming Home: Contemporary Seminole Art” will be on display from Saturday, March 18 through Monday, Sept. 4 in the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing of The Ringling in Sarasota and features artwork from Seminole, Miccosukee and mixed-heritage artists from Florida, along with notable work by the internationally recognized artists of Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole descent from Oklahoma, California and beyond.
“This major exhibition highlights the range and depth of the fantastic artwork by some of the most outstanding Native American artists and is an imperative step toward establishing a meaningful relationship with the Native American artistic community,” said Ola Wlusek, The Ringling’s Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “We are honored to be able to present the work of these incredible artists at The Ringling.”
The members of the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes of Florida are represented by visual artists who work, or have worked, in textiles, film, woodworking, beadwork, digital drawing and painting. Their work offers an intimate look into the artists’ lived experiences and explores issues of ancestry and identity, the environment, and interfaith and traditional ways of knowing Florida’s Native communities.
Drawing from photo-based and digital collage techniques, performance, video, installation art and mixed media, artists from the Seminole diaspora explore image-making, Muskogean languages and offer diverse perspectives on the themes of memory, history, health and representation as expressions of Native visual sovereignty.
Artists in the exhibition include Noah Billie (Seminole), Wilson Bowers (Seminole), Houston R. Cypress (Miccosukee), Elisa Harkins (Cherokee/Muscogee [Creek]), Alyssa Osceola (Seminole), Jessica Osceola (Seminole/Irish), C. Maxx Stevens (Seminole/Muscogee [Creek]), Tony Tiger (Sac and Fox/Seminole/Muscogee [Creek]), Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie (Taskigi/Diné [Navajo]/Seminole), Brian Zepeda (Seminole), Corinne Zepeda (Seminole /Mexican) and Pedro Zepeda (Seminole/Mexican).
As part of The Ringling’s ongoing commitment to add work by artists with a connection to Florida, the museum will unveil Jessica Osceola’s “Portrait One,” “Portrait Two” and “Portrait Three” (2017). With the generous support of the Daniel J. Denton Florida Art Acquisition Fund, it is the first work by a Seminole artist to be added to The Ringling’s collection of modern and contemporary art.
This exhibition will include several important loans from the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, located on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation.
“We are grateful for the generous loans of artwork by the artists and lending institutions and, in particular, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum for their support of this historic project,” said Steven High, executive director of The Ringling. “We look forward to partnering on exhibition projects in the future.”
Additional lending institutions include the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, Indiana. “Reclaiming Home” is accompanied by an exhibition catalog with scholarly texts published by Scala Arts Publishers.
This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Endowment; the Mandell and Madeleine Berman Foundation Endowment; and the Bob and Diane Roskamp Endowment; the State of Florida’s Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture; the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; and the National Endowment for the Arts. Wlusek’s research and travel related to this exhibition and publication project was generously supported by the Curatorial Research Fellowship awarded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
About The Ringling
The Ringling is Florida’s center for the arts, history, and learning, bringing the past and contemporary culture to life through extraordinary visitor experiences. As the State Art Museum of Florida and part of Florida State University, The Ringling is a place of exploration, discovery, and respite. The Ringling’s campus in Sarasota, Florida — which includes the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, an historic mansion, an 18th century theater and Bayfront Gardens — is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.