MOA to Showcase Lakota Quilts and Crafts

The Museum of Anthropology  will feature Creating: Quilts and Crafts of the Lakota from November 5, 2013 to January 25, 2014.  The exhibition combines two independent but related exhibits. Creating: Quilts of the Lakota is organized by The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, and the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania.  Contemporary Creations: Arts and Crafts by Lakota Artists is organized by C-H Jacobson Produktion AB of Stockholm, Sweden.   The combined exhibit presents 20 eye-dazzling quilts and 32 items of apparel and dance regalia made in traditional style by Lakota artisans.

The MOA will share the combined exhibit with Delta Arts Center, also in Winston-Salem.  Each venue will display about half of the quilts and crafts. For the complete experience, visitors are encouraged to visit both museums.

Quilting has long been a part of the cultural heritage of the Lakota Sioux in South Dakota. However, some of the most exquisite works produced by tribe members have never been seen outside of the reservation. The exhibit highlights outstanding examples of 20th century and contemporary works.  Although similar in construction to other American quilts, the iconography of these Lakota textiles reflect a Sioux Oclala religious and cultural heritage that is largely unknown in this part of the country. The insertion of symbols from popular culture (e.g. the basketball or flag) as well makes these works different from other folk textiles.

The contemporary, traditional Lakota crafts in the exhibit were made by members of different Lakota tribes across South Dakota between 1982 and 1992.  The craftspeople are considered to be among the best and most skilled in their fields.  Crafts play an important role in the preservation of tribal traditions as artisans often teach the younger members of their families the necessary skills.

For the exhibition’s opening on November 5, the Swedish curators of the exhibit’s crafts, Claes Jacobson and Eva Anderson, will present “The Legacy of John Anderson’s 45 years at Rosebud: Photographers and Artists Preserving Lakota Cultural Heritage,” an illustrated lecture, at 7:00 p.m. at the Museum.

Creating: Quilts and Crafts of the Lakota is supported by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, a Milton Rhodes Innovative Project Grant from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, a Winston-Salem Partners in the Humanities Project Grant from the Humanities Institute at Wake Forest University, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Wake Forest University.

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