TVLSE, Okla. – A recent art exhibition at the Gathering Place celebrated the existence and persistence of the three Native American Nations that call the region home. The exhibition “WeAre.” featured artists from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the Cherokee Nation, and the Osage Nation. It ran from Nov. 4 -26 during National Native American Heritage Month at the ONEOK boathouse.
“WeAre.” featured a variety of forms including photography, sculpture, pottery, paintings, textiles, and woven paper. The exhibition showcased 13 artists and featured the art of Mvskoke artists Anita Fields, Yatika Fields, Jimmie C. Fife, Kenneth Johnson, Bobby C. Martin, and Melinda Schwakhofer.
The exhibition not only highlighted Indigenous identity but also expanded on the idea of survival. Laura Clark (Mvskoke), Curator of Public Art at the Gathering Place, explained the inspiration for the exhibition, saying, “I wanted to provide a message that goes deeper—not just still here, but who we are. I began to think about who we are as tribal people. We are proud of our culture, we are committed to one another, we are creative in how we think and what we make. We are artists and educators, leaders, followers, parents and aunties. I wanted the artists featured in the exhibition to express who they are in relation to each of the tribes, and who they are as people.”
A “Conversation with the Artists” panel discussion occurred on Nov. 12. The public event had flute music by Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council Okmulgee Representative Nelson Harjo, Sr. and opening remarks by Acting Secretary of the Department of History and Culture RaeLynn Butler.
Feedback on the exhibition has been positive. Clarked shared that visitors have remarked on how intriguing each work was in itself. She added, “Remarks ranged from how much they loved the exhibition to tribal people thanking us for a significant representation of Indigenous peoples
While the exhibition closed Nov. 26, it can be viewed at their website WeAre.