SUNY Oneonta exhibition features indigenous artwork

Shweta Karikehalli | The Daily Star Artwork by Peter B. Jones, “Kool-Aid Man, Old Person, Pope and the Innocents and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women,” is shown in SUNY Oneonta’s Martin-Mullen Art Gallery on Thursday

About 100 guests took in more than 40 works of art by Native American artists of New York state at SUNY Oneonta’s Martin-Mullen Art Gallery on Thursday.

The exhibition, “The Land on Which We Gather,” featured works by seven artists from the Onondaga, Seneca, Tuscarora and Cayuga nations, as well as two non-native artists.

On display were oil, acrylic, watercolor and gouache paintings; stone sculptures; photography; mixed-media sculpture and beadwork. A virtual reality video — “Mannahatta VR: Envisioning Lenapeway” showed Lenape Nation history on the Broadway block in Manhattan.

The exhibition was held in conjunction with the inauguration of College President Barbara Jean Morris and will remain open until Oct. 18 for public viewing.

Several people were drawn to “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women,” a work by Peter B. Jones, a citizen of the Onondaga Nation and Beaver Clan.

According to data from the National Crime Information Center, in 2016, there were 5,712 reports of missing Native American and Alaska Native women and girls. However, the U.S. Department of Justice’s federal missing persons database, NamUs, only logged 116 cases. The National Institute of Justice reported that 84% of Native American experience violence in their lifetime.

Artist Luanne Redeye, a member of the Seneca Nation and Hawk Clan, said from a young age, she noticed that the people she saw on TV didn’t look like her or her loved ones, she said. This is what inspired her to paint portraits of people she knows and loves in their everyday lives.

“I really consider that awareness the foundation of my work,” she said.

Redeye, who grew up in western New York and lived in New Mexico while pursuing a master’s of fine arts, said an exhibition like this gives the artists space to be able to share unique experiences through art no matter where they’re from. 

“Even though I wasn’t from there, we had this shared history, shared experience of just being native,” she said. “Even though all the cultures are very diverse and unique, and how people express that is very personal, there’s still that connection and understanding in ways in which we express that.”

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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