Larger Than Memory

Contemporary Art from Indigenous North America

Opening September 4, 2020
By Balasz Takac
Although a commonplace, it is important to remember that all land within the territory of the United States and Canada belonged to Indigenous cultures for centuries (e.g. Alaskan Natives, Inuit people, Native Americas, etc.), as various communities that perceived rather than a political entity. As the colonization progressed for centuries, these communities became less and less visible due to urbanization, commodification, and in worst cases and depending on the region, racism.

Nevertheless, their cultural heritage remains explored by a generation of contemporary Indigenous artists who are using different means to express their identity. To analyze thoroughly this particular production and underline its broader cultural significance, the Heard Museum decided to organize an exhibition focused on the works made in the last two decades.

This exhibition, marked as the museum’s largest to date, tends to present not only a selection of works but an array of stylistic and conceptual approaches expressed by some of the leading indigenous artists from North America.

To achieve that task, Heard Museum Chief Curator Diana Pardue and Fine Arts Curator Erin Joyce, who curated the exhibition, decided to focus on creating a fresh and communicative survey suitable for new interpretations of Indigenous art. Heard Museum Dickey Family Director and CEO, David Roche, underlined the importance of this exhibition:

“Larger Than Memory comes at a pivotal time in the global contemporary art world. The exhibition recognizes and presents artists working at the top of their field, across a variety of mediums; artists that are engaging with critical dialogues that touch all of our lives. The Heard is honored to present the work of these creatives and be a leader in conversations regarding representation, identity, and the environment.”

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