Adornment in the West: The American Indian As Artist
June 18 – November 1, 2015
Cody Firearms Museum Breezeway
American Indians have been producing and wearing jewelry for thousands of years, and have been working as silversmiths for more than a century. Jewelry, beadwork, quillwork, and silver pieces designed and produced by American Indian artists are recognized around the world as a distinctly American art form.
This special exhibition celebrated a rich and vibrant heritage of creativity, artistry, and design—showcasing items created by master American Indian artists both past and contemporary. Adornment in the West: The American Indian as Artist features nearly 230 carefully selected objects from our Plains Indian Museum collections, loans from the Millicent Rogers Museum, and loans from members of the Center of the West and the Cody community. Selected clothing from the 1900s through the present were included as well.
Slideshow of selected objects featured in the special exhibition Adornment in the West: The American Indian As Artist
Rebecca West, Curator of Plains Indian Cultures and the Plains Indian Museum, says, “The artists represented in the exhibition are from tribes all over the western United States and Alaska, and the objects range from concho belts and bolos to necklaces, glass and bone beads, beaded bags and vests, pins, cuff bracelets and just about every type of personal adornment one could imagine.”
The concept for Adornment in the West was fostered by Buffalo Bill Center of the West Trustees Margo Grant Walsh, who is the exhibition’s curator, and Naoma Tate, who have spent a lifetime lovingly and painstakingly assembling remarkable collections of exquisitely designed and beautifully crafted jewelry and silver wares.
“As a collector and connoisseur, I am drawn to American 20th century silver both for its beauty, and for the heritage it represents. As artisans, American Indian artists are perhaps the single largest group in America to still maintain the European tradition of family apprenticeships, small shops, technical refinement, and innovation. And, through their artistry, American Indian silversmiths honor their own familial ties, tribal customs, and culture.” ~ Margo Grant Walsh (Pembina Band, Turtle Mountain Tribe, Chippewa Nation)