Lavishly illustrated with over 80 full-color images, this book includes original art and artifacts from the distant past as well as modern work by Native American artists from a vast array of tribes — including Cherokee, Delaware, Iroquois, Mohawk, Cheyenne, Lakota, Zuni, Pueblo, Yup’ik, Huron, Ojibwa, Arapaho, and Nez Perce. Works included are clothing (such as robes, shoes, and hats), everyday items (such as blankets, pots, jugs, and baskets) and artwork (such as paintings on animal hide and colorful figurines).
This publication, the first ever to document the Newark Museum’s important Native American holdings in a significant way, is the result of more than one hundred years of collecting and an ambitious amount of new research and interpretation.
John Cotton Dana, the museum’s founding director, refused established museum hierarchies of art, believing that such stratification was used to privilege painting and sculpture over other media and to marginalize artistic traditions that were not necessarily old or European. Dana’s drive to collect art globally and across media, underscoring the role art plays in the daily lives of real people, was all part of the same refrain: art is everything; art is everywhere; art is for everyone.
The works here highlight the vitality and persistence of Indigenous people over time and across experiences, and the tenacity with which cultural knowledge and the mastery of skill are passed on from one generation to the next. They also reflect how Native American artists and communities have been and continue to be engaged in broader historical, artistic, and economic exchanges with outsiders. They demonstrate the originality, vision, and care with which artists from different tribal nations across the continent, each with their own history and artistic traditions, express both individual ideas and shared cultural principles.