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111th Annual Exhibition to feature contemporary Native art of the Southwest

Cara Romero, Evolvers, 2019, limited edition archival fine art photograph printed by the artist on Legacy Platine paper, 15 x 48 in.

The Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College’s 111th Annual Exhibition will feature contemporary Native art of the Southwest.

Survivance: Contemporary Native Art will debut with an opening reception at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21.

The College’s first Annual opened in 1911 and is one of the longest-running exhibitions of contemporary art staged annually by an academic institution in the United States.

Cara Romero, Weshoyot, 2021, limited edition archival fine art photograph printed by the artist on Legacy Matte paper, 51 x 40 in.

“For us, it is important to always be exploring the breadth of American art and paying attention to stories that haven’t been amplified or even told at all,” said Martha Johnson, director of the Maier. “Our approach is in line with the College’s commitment to the abundant life. We must interpret what we mean by American art in an abundant way, and that requires an expansive look at what is underrepresented in our collection and exhibitions and doing what we can to remedy that.”

This is the first Annual to focus on Native American artists, inspired by a 2019 exhibition, Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.

“It had traveled from the Minneapolis Institute of Art, where it originated,” Johnson said. “It was a pivotal experience and made me determined to curate an exhibition inspired by this groundbreaking show, although on a much smaller scale, for the Maier. But I wasn’t sure how to narrow the focus.”

Johnson found the solution after Emilie Bryant ’22 interned with the New Mexico History Museum in 2021. Her work involved researching the Santa Fe Indian Market, widely considered the most recognized and influential event in the Native American art world of the 20th and 21st centuries, as it neared its 100th anniversary this year.

She co-curated the exhibition with Bryant, who is now working as a collections assistant for Randolph’s Museum and Heritage Studies program.

“Instead of a focus on gender our focus is geographical and tied to an historic milestone,” Johnson said. “Her research provided the framework for Survivance, and all the artists included in it were ones that she had been exposed to during her internship.”

Survivance, which runs through April, features artists with roots in the market tradition, as well as more generally in the creative output of the region. Their work is a blend of ancestral legacy, individual expression, and contemporary innovations.

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