past exhibitions

Native North American Art from the University of North Dakota's Art Collections

April 6 - June 1, 2008

Works of art by Native American artists from the University of North Dakota Art Collection.  The exhibition highlights the university’s extensive holding of Native North American Art, including numerous historical, traditional and ceremonial objects, some with intricate bead and quill work.

Over the past few years, attempts have been made to better organize artworks collected by the University of North Dakota (which are widely distributed across the campus) and to more effectively utilize the art for teaching, research, and community cultural enrichment purposes. The first project initiated with this objective in mind is focused on UND’s extensive holdings of Native North American art. The labels that accompany objects on display reveal that many University departments, as well as the UND Foundation, maintain possession of Native North American art. An accompanying book on the University’s collections of Native North American art is currently in production.

Organized in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of the University of North Dakota, the exhibition features traditional, ceremonial, historical, anthropological, and contemporary objects—including some artworks made by students and alumni of UND. The majority of the objects are from the upper Northern Plains, but several are from the American Southwest. Besides their aesthetic importance, these objects also have potential to foster better cultural awareness within their academic environment at the University. In addition to the original art on display, many additional Native North American artworks are contained in collections of the University and the UND Foundation. Photographic panels reveal several other works that that can be found on campus that are not included in the show.

This exhibition is intended to honor Native North American people and the artists whose works, produced over many lifetimes, tell a story of courage, wisdom, fortitude and generosity. Without their cultural contributions, this display could not exist. The exhibition also honors American Indian students, faculty and staff at the University of North Dakota who have taken on primary responsibility for establishing a supportive campus cultural environment.