How to Catch Eel and Grow Corn

8 Apr — 16 May 2015 at Wilmer Jennings Gallery in New York, United States

1 APRIL 2015
Maria Hupfield, Piano with Silent Noise for Piano. Photo. 2015
Maria Hupfield, Piano with Silent Noise for Piano. Photo. 2015

American Indian Artists (AMERINDA), Inc. is pleased to announce the opening of How to Catch Eel and Grow Corn, a group exhibition of five Native American women artists representing two generations living and working in New York City, organized by Stephen Hepworth, Independent Curator.

Artists in the exhibition are: Nadema Agard, Pena Bonita, Maria Hupfield, Athena LaTocha, and Melissa Staiger.

Consciously referencing a historic act of generosity, this exhibition of five Native American women artists resident in New York is the result of an invitation to a British contemporary art curator, Stephen Hepworth, by AMERINDA to venture into new and alien territory. Positioned as an explorer, he encountered an openness in the sharing of knowledge, expertise and experience reflected through the range of work included in the exhibition.

Each of the five artists identifies to a different degree with their distinct tribal ancestry, further defined by social, cultural and geographic difference - collectively though they remain identified as Native American. While New York is now their home, the experience of being other, perhaps inevitably in a city of others (a place that is historically and geographically part of their larger home) sustains and informs their practice, especially in one that functions as a dynamic global center for contemporary art.

Through this contemporary framework the exhibition embraces the work of these artists who in turn: deploy traditional symbolism to ensure the passing forward of a continuing heritage; evoke memories of rugged landscape through material invention; question the possibility of the spiritual within a modernist tradition; echo the procedures of exchange as a performative act; and by the introduction of an adorned and embellished tree stump into a community garden creates a place to wonder and question.

How to Catch Eel and Grow Corn will be accompanied by a series of conversations between each of the individual artists and an invited guest that will similarly give space for the exchange of information: allowing for the revisiting of previous encounters, the re-evaluation of historical contexts and new perspectives to be proposed.

AMERINDA is the only independent, multi-arts organization of its kind in the United States serving emerging and established Native American artists. Since its inception in 1987, AMERINDA has been offering a community of encouragement and assistance to Native American artists pursuing professional careers. AMERINDA actively promotes the indigenous perspective in the arts to a broad audience through the creation of new work in contemporary art forms: visual, literary, performing and media.