Ancient Ways: Modern Forms

February 5-April 2, 2015

Opening Reception: February 12

The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art is pleased to present the new exhibition Ancient Ways: Modern Forms, An Exploration of Related Experience in Native American and Jewish Cultures by Oklahoma Native Artists. This exhibit features the works of Cherokee treasures Jane Osti and Martha Berry, as well as works from the members of the Southeast Indian Artists Association, who created works that touch on traditions and related experiences in the cultures of two ancient tribal peoples: the Jewish people, and the Native American people.

Ancient Ways: Modern Forms was conceived as a means to find and celebrate the common ground shared by two cultures living here in Oklahoma: Jewish and Native American. The Sherwin Miller Museum asked the artists of the Southeastern Indian Artists Association to create a new work or find, in their existing work, a connection between the traditions and experiences of the two peoples; the tribes of Oklahoma and the tribes of Israel.

Most connections fell into two types; the importance of passing on traditions and keeping them alive, and the shared experiences of Diaspora and persecution.

One work is Troy Jackson’s remarkable sculpture Carrying Tradition, which is the embodiment of the cultural imperative of both peoples; to keep tradition alive and modernize it for use in our contemporary age. Artists Jane Osti, Chase Kahwinhut Earles, David Pruitt, Karin Walkingstick, and Scott Roberts created pottery based on ancient tribal forms; forms used by early potters in the ancient nations of Israel and Judah.

The second part of the exhibit is Eradicating the Other: Forced Removal, Diaspora, and Assimilation as Experienced by Native American and Jewish Peoples. Both cultures have suffered negative consequences for their beliefs and traditions. Artist Shan Goshorn created a woven basket, Pain. Parallel. Prayer, a Cherokee style singe-weave basket woven from paper splints printed with the definition of genocide and images of the Holocaust.