Kalamazoo Institute of Arts to present the unprecedented exhibition Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass  May 18-August 25, 2024

KALAMAZOO—April 26, 2024

Raya Friday, Lattice Basket, 2017, Blown and sculpted glass, 13″ x 11″, Image courtesy of Raya Friday, Photograph by Raya Friday, © Raya Friday.

Marvel at nearly 100 stunning glassworks that reveal the contributions of 33 contemporary Native American and Indigenous, Pacific-Rim artists to the global studio glass movement. Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass will be on view May 18–August 25, 2024.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Kalamazoo, Michigan is pleased to host Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass, a groundbreaking exhibition giving broader and overdue recognition to a wide range of contemporary Native American and Indigenous, Pacific-Rim artists working in glass. The exhibition features nearly 100 glass art objects created by twenty-nine Native American artists and leading glass artist Dale Chihuly. Many of these artists are also widely known for their work in other media. In addition, two Australian Aboriginal artists and two Maori artists, who have collaborated with Native American artists, are also featured, for a total of thirty-three indigenous artists, as well as Chihuly.

Clearly Indigenous was originated by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the traveling exhibition was curated by Dr. Letitia Chambers and toured by International Arts and Artists. A companion book published by the Museum of New Mexico Press features most of the artworks in the exhibit.

The stunning art in the exhibition embodies the intellectual content of Native traditions, newly illuminated by the unique properties that can only be achieved by working with glass. Says Dr. Chambers, “Whether re-interpreting traditional stories and designs via glass or expressing contemporary issues affecting tribal societies, Indigenous glass artists have created a content-laden body of work. These artists have melded the aesthetics and properties inherent in glass art with their cultural ways of knowing.” The result is a ground-breaking exhibit featuring an impressive body of works illuminating these artists’ reflections on Indigenous basketmaking, textile, and pottery traditions; ancestral stories; as well as the importance of animals of the land, air, and sea.

A collaboration between the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), resulted in establishing a glass program and a hot shop for the IAIA, where Chihuly was in turn, influenced by indigenous cultures, as evidenced by his Basket series. Alongside Chihuly, among the artists included in this seminal exhibition are Larry Ahvakana (Inupiat), Dan Friday (Lummi), Carol Lujan (Diné), Robert “Spooner” Marcus (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo), Lillian Pitt (Warm Springs, Wasco, Yakama), and Preston Singletary (Tlingit). The KIA has excellent examples of Chihuly’s and other glass artists in its collection. “We are thrilled to present Clearly Indigenous as the KIA begins its celebrations for our 100th anniversary. This singular exhibition continues to emphasize our institution’s commitment to presenting the wealth of diverse artists from our past, present, and future,” says Rehema Barber, Director of Curatorial Affairs.

Clearly Indigenous Special Exhibition Pricing

Adults: $13
Seniors (60+), Active Military, Groups (10 or more): $8
College Students (18+ with ID) & Youth (ages 7-17): $7
Children (ages 6 & younger): Free
Museum Members: Free based on membership level

Admission price includes all Special Exhibitions and the museum’s permanent collection galleries.

We strongly recommend advance ticket purchase. Guests purchasing tickets on site may experience a wait to enter this exhibition. Plan ahead and purchase your admission tickets online or a timed entry ticket at the Guest Services Desk. Timed entry tickets are available 30 days in advance. Nonrefundable tickets are “final sale” tickets that may not be returned for a full refund after purchase.

Admission discounts such as Art Bridges Foundation Access for All, Museums for All, and Blue Star Museums may also be available. See those program pages for more information or call 269-349-7775 to speak with a Guest Services team member.

Some exhibitions, programs and events carry an admission charge or registration fee beyond the museum’s general admission and include admission to exhibitions and the collection galleries as part of that admission charge or registration fee.

In honor of our 100th anniversary, admission to the museum will be free during the entire month of July, made possible by the generous support of Jim and Carol Carter, the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, PNC Bank, The Santreece Foundation, and Warner Norcoss + Judd LLP.

Upcoming Clearly Indigenous Programming

Pulchuck: A Dance with Fire, Friday, May 14 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm EST

Members Opening, Friday, May 17 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm EST

Glass Art with Ekin Aytac and Joshua Davis, Tuesday, July 24 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm EST

Clearly Indigenous Artists Exchange and Hands-On Exploration with Dr. Letitia Chambers, Saturday, August 10

About the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Since 1924, the KIA has offered its visitors the opportunity to enjoy and create art. The KIA’s permanent collection holds more than 4,600 objects across a wide spectrum of media, and the museum stages 10-15 exhibitions, both drawn from its own works as well as touring shows, annually in its ten galleries. In addition to its exhibition spaces, the museum houses the KIA Gallery Shop, which sells pieces by international artisans and local and regional artists, a multi-media auditorium, a publicly accessible library, and an interactive children’s gallery.

Expanded offerings, collaborations, and outreach will celebrate 100 years of excellence in the arts and bring the KIA’s unparalleled resources to a wider audience than ever before. These special initiatives will give back to the community in appreciation for 100 years of growth, and deepen the ability of all Kalamazooans to find joy, learn from one another, and grow. Through close listening and renewed creativity, the anniversary will illuminate the pathway for the Institute’s next 100 years.

About the Curator

Dr. Letitia Chambers is a collector of Native American art who has been involved in issues affecting Native Americans throughout her career, including serving as the CEO of Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ, as a founding director and board chair of the Association of Tribal Archies, Libraries, and Museums, and as a Trustee of the Institute of American Indian Arts. Before focusing her career on the arts, Dr. Chambers was well known as a public policy expert at both the federal and state levels. She served as Staff Director of two US Senate Committees and as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations General Assembly. She also headed the state system of higher education in New Mexico. Her private sector experience includes serving as CEO of a highly successful Washington DC based public policy consulting firm. Letitia Chambers resides in Santa Fe, where she maintains a consulting practice and has curated several exhibitions at the Museum of Indian Art and Culture and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden.

About International Arts & Artists

International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally, through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, arts institutions and the public. Visit www.artsandartists.org.