Cherokee Beadwork & the American Indian:

TMA Exhibit Showcases a Lost Art Alongside Iconic Images


TYLER, TX (April 30, 2010) – A selection of photogravures by Edward S. Curtis and examples of contemporary Cherokee beadwork combine to create a sketch of Native Americans in a dual exhibition on view in the Tyler Museum of Art’s Bell Gallery from Sunday, May 2 through Sunday, August 15.

Cherokee Beadwork: Finding a Lost Art features a stunning collection of contemporary Cherokee beadwork made by several artists, most of whom are of Cherokee descent. The American Indian through the Eyes of Edward S. Curtis. features a selection of photogravures by Curtis, images that were originally captured for his twenty-volume oeuvre, The North American Indian in the early twentieth century.

Cherokee Beadwork: Finding A Lost Art

The objects shown in Cherokee Beadwork are contemporary works created by artists such as Martha Berry. These artworks are physical representations of the revival of a traditional art form that was all but lost until the second half of the twentieth century. Berry has been instrumental in uncovering the Cherokee history as well as techniques used to create traditional objects such as the bandolier bag that were created and worn by Cherokee people.

Cherokee Beadwork: Finding A Lost Art has been guest-curated by Berry, and many of her own works are included in the exhibition. Visitors to the exhibition will see objects ranging from sashes and purses, to bandolier bags and moccasins, all of which demonstrate the painstaking effort required to create such intricate and detailed works.

“The Museum exists to show all kinds of art, whether that is works by old masters, or ceramic pieces from Japan,” says TMA Curator, Ken Tomio. “Beautiful examples of artworks such as these are not always made accessible, but I believe it is a priority of the our Museum to make these things available for the community to enjoy. Through Cherokee Beadwork, people will see a beautiful, intricately made product of artistic effort that not only shows the creative impulse of an artist, but is also laden with the historical significance of a people.”

The American Indian Through the Eyes of Edward S. Curtis

The American Indian Through the Eyes of Edward S. Curtis shows a selection of photogravures originally taken by Curtis as a part of his attempt to produce a comprehensive recording of the life of the Native Americans. Shot beginning in the 1890s, the images were published in the twenty volume series called The North American Indian, a leather-bound collection of lavishly produced images that by all accounts not only shaped the image of the American Indian in the public conscience, but also left an indelible mark on the American culture. In addition to the photogravures, the first two volumes of The North American Indian are on display, the first of which bares the signature of Theodore Roosevelt. The photogravures and the volumes are from the collection of Tyler Junior College.