Since earliest times, Native art evolved often after exposure to new designs and materials obtained mainly through trade or warfare between tribes. The arrival of Europeans in the New World, however, dramatically impacted artwork of indigenous artists not only through the introduction of exotic new materials but also the effects of cultural disruption caused by European colonialism.
The present exhibition in the Rand Gallery, Undaunted Spirit: Native Art of North America, traces the evolution of Native art by revealing human stories that tell of the great resiliency of Indian artists and how they maintained their artistic traditions while adapting to ever-changing conditions. Much of the artwork in this exhibition captures the undaunted spirit of artists who endured dire consequences of European colonialism. Despite loss of lands, forced religious conversion, and the introduction of foreign diseases for which they had no immunity, they have survived and continue to create exceptional works of art.
Today, the Museum is collecting exciting, innovative artwork of contemporary Native artists. Many of these preeminent artists –Preston Singletary, Jody Folwell, Kenneth Williams, Jr., Diego Romero, Douglas Miles, Marcus Amerman, and Lyndon Tsosie – to name just a few, are represented in this exhibition.