Skin, cloth, porcupine quills, glass beads, twine. Gift of Mr. Albert V. Sander. Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, Autry National Center; 20.X.4

 

Native American beadwork  currently on exhibit at the Autry is a stunning exhibit that is worth a New Year’s visit. This collection, which runs until April,  reflects not only prolific skill and talent, it is a cultural study of the various distinct art styles and iconology that identifies respective tribal nations within the United States. This exhibit is so much more than ornamental beadwork.  American Indian flower imagery, following European contact, became a major art form as well as a symbol of Native culture. This intricate art form continues to be at the center of Native American art today.The exhibit is organized by tribe and has more than 250 objects that reflect the evolution and merge of the artform that is expressed in items used in daily life.     

The art leaves a trail of history that embraced and transitioned the artform with culture and spirituality that merged with trade and commerce. The beadwork is more than an artform, the work often reflects sacred symbols.  This work is not only impressive as a beautiful art exhibit it provides much history accompanied by tribal and personal stories. 

This exhibition is the first of its kind to explore how beaded floral designs became a remarkable art form as well as a means of economic and cultural survival for the Native North American people. 

Floral Journey presents moccasins, bags, dresses, hats, jackets, and other exquisitely beaded and quilled items selected from multiple private collections and fifteen cultural institutions, including the Autry’s Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection. Many of the objects are on display to the public for the first time.

In conjunction with the exhibit the Autry is holding Community beadwork drop-in workshops on various Saturdays.  

The Autry National Museum located at Griffith Park 4700 Western Heritage Way Los Angeles, CA 90027.  The museum is offering free admission on New Years day.  For more information: www.theautry.org

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