Releases | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Traveling exhibition “Protection: Adaptation and Resistance" on view at Museum of International Folk Art

September 19th, 2023

Santa Fe, NM- The traveling exhibition Protection: Adaptation and Resistance presents the work of more than 45 Alaska Native artists who explore the themes of climate crisis, struggles for social justice, strengthening communities through ancestral knowledge, and imagining a thriving future. The Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) will present Protection in its Gallery of Conscience, opening with a public reception on Sunday, December 3, 2023, from 1 to 4 p.m. Protection is organized by the Bunnell Street Art Center, Homer, Alaska.

Protection complements the MOIFA exhibition Ghhúunayúkata/To Keep Them Warm: The Alaska Native Parka, which opened at the museum in May 2023. The idea of protection is also inherent in Ghhúunayúkata/To Keep Them Warm, which examines the Alaska Native parka, a garment made for survival in the harsh environments where Alaska Native peoples live and thrive. Both exhibitions will be on display through April 7, 2024.

Protection: Adaptation and Resistance centers Indigenous ways of knowing. Working within intergenerational learning groups and as collaborators in vibrant community networks, Alaska’s Indigenous artists invigorate traditional stories and propose resilient new futures through design, tattoo, regalia, and graphic arts,” said exhibition curator and Bunnell Street Art Center director, Asia Freeman. “The projects featured in this exhibition elevate collaboration, allyship, and community as tools of resistance, adaptation, and cultural affirmation.”

The diverse works in the exhibition range from regalia to images of traditional tattooing, graphic design, and posters for public health and well-being. Iñupiaq artist Amber Webb’s 12-foot-high qaspeq (a cloth hooded overshirt) features the drawn portraits of more than 200 Indigenous women who have been missing or murdered in Alaska since 1950. This Memorial Qaspeq makes visible the scale of loss and grief the tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) has in Indigenous communities, and with this installation, Webb calls for a solution to violence against women and healing for Native communities.

Some of the artists included in Protection include: Bobby Brower, Lily Hope, Melissa Ingersoll, Joel Isaak, Cassandra Johnson, Tommy Joseph, Dimi Macheras, Helen McLean, Holly Nordlum, Jackie Qataliña Schaeffer, Melissa Shaginoff, Hanna Sholl, Marjorie Tahbone, Beverly Tuck, Sarah Ayaqi Whalen-Lunn, Crystal Worl, Rico Worl, and Jennifer Younger, Louise Brady and Carol Hughey.

Protection: Adaptation and Resistance is a project of the Bunnell Street Art Center in Homer, Alaska. It is made possible, in part, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The CIRI Foundation, the Alaska Community Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, and the Alaska Humanities Forum.

About the Museum of International Folk Art  

The Museum of International Folk Art is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the International Folk Art Foundation and Museum of New Mexico Foundation.  The mission of the Museum of International Folk Art is to shape a humane world by connecting people through creative expression and artistic traditions. The museum holds the largest collection of international folk art in the world, numbering more than 160,000 objects from more than 100 countries.

About the Gallery of Conscience

The Gallery of Conscience in the Museum of International Folk Art is devoted to the examination of issues facing folk artists around the world today. It is an experimental space where visitors are invited to engage with important issues of our time through interactive elements and facilitated dialogues. The museum is a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a global network of historic sites, museums, and memory initiatives that connect past struggles to today’s movements for human rights and social justice.

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