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"Connecting Generations: Contemporary American Indian Dolls" and "Growing Up: Childhood in American and Native American Art"


Connecting Generations: Contemporary American Indian Dolls

Connecting Generations: Contemporary American Indian Dolls explores doll making in modern Native American tribal societies. The exhibition features 20 dolls from private collections - the creative visions of Native American artists such as Joyce and Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty, of Assiniboine-Sioux heritage, Rhonda Holy Bear, a Lakota born on the Cheyenne Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and Jamie Okuma, of Okinawan-Hawaiian and Shoshone-Bannock/Luiseno heritage. (left: Joyce and Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty, Plains Family, ca. 1995, hide, glass beads, dyed porcupine quills, pigment, human hair, horsehair, feathers, shell, cloth, silk ribbon, wood, fur, metal, embroidery thread, sweet grass, (Female) 15 5/8 inches, (Male) 20 5/8 inches, (Cradleboard) 9 3/4 inches, Private Collection; right: Jamie Okuma, Preston and Skylar, ca. 2001, hide, glass beads, fur, cloth, silk ribbon, feathers, human hair, horsehair, pigment, metal, porcupine claws, 25 1/4 inches, Collection of Charles and Valerie Diker)

The artists have drawn from their individual knowledge of past and present lifestyles and societal traditions to create the dolls, each of which reveals an enormous amount of information about the life ways of the artists who made them and serve as powerful cultural artifacts providing connections between familial and societal generations.

Originally used in religious rites, dolls have evolved into symbols of family and culture, and continue to be used for both instruction, as well as comfort.

Collectors donating dolls to Connecting Generations include Charles and Valerie Diker and an anonymous lender.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full color, 30 page catalogue. Connecting Generations: Contemporary American Indian Dolls is curated by Twig Johnson, Montclair Art Museum's Curator of Native American Art, and Ms. Ellen Napiura Taubman, a former American Indian Art specialist at Sotheby's and Curator of Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation. Connecting Generations will be on view through January 18, 2004 in Robert Lehman Court. (left: Rhonda Holy Bear, Ghost Dancer, ca. 1998, hide pigment, cloth, hair, wood, feathers, glass beads, metal, 20 1/2 inches, Private Collection; right: Joyce Growing Thunder Fogarty, Plains Woman, ca. 2002, cloth, glass beads, pigment, human hair, dentalium shells, silk ribbon, metal, sequins, hide Private Collection)


Growing Up: Childhood in American and Native American Art

Growing Up: Childhood in American and Native American Art is primarily drawn from Montclair Art Museum's Permanent Collection. The exhibition crosses cultures in its exploration of the diversity of artistic portrayals of children from early 19th century to the present and styles ranging from sentimental and traditional depictions to the avant-garde.

The works displayed in Growing Up illustrate the hopes and ideals of the generations they represent, and convey the universal, eternal appeal of childhood as a multi-faceted artistic theme. (right: Roxanne Swentzell (b. 1962), Mother and Child, 2002, Bronze, edition of 10, 42 x 36 x 25 inches, Lent by Robert and Tamora Miller, Photo by Wendy McEahearn)

Works in the exhibition include portraits of children by anonymous, early 19th - century itinerant portraitists; Winslow Homer's evocative wood engravings of children at play, photographs of Native American children by Carl Moon, as well as contemporary works by Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold, and Janet Taylor Pickett.

Growing Up is curated by Gail Stavitsky, Chief Curator, and Twig Johnson, Curator of Native American Art, and will be on view through February 15, 2004.



The Museum has a respected national and international reputation for its fine collection of American art and Native American art and artifacts. Included are approximately 15,000 objects, more than 600 of which represent the development of American painting from the mid-18th century to the present. The collection also encompasses works on paper, and sculpture. The extensive Native American holdings of some 6,000 objects, represents the cultural development of various peoples in the Plains, Southwest, California Intermountain, Northwest, and Eastern Woodlands regions of North America, with particularly distinguished examples of baskets and jewelry.

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Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

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