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Lyndon House Hosts Native American Art Symposium This Weekend

“Illit Fallamat Taani” by Erin Shaw

The Lyndon House Arts Center will host several artists and academic professionals in a symposium on contemporary Southeastern Native American art to compliment the center’s newest exhibition, “Return from Exile,” this Saturday, Aug. 29.

“Return from Exile” will remain on view through Friday, Oct. 16, after which it will begin a two-year tour across the U.S. to universities, museums and tribal heritage sites. The symposium will be the only opportunity during the exhibition’s stint at the Lyndon House to meet and hear from the featured artists. Both the symposium and general exhibition will be free and open to the public.

“Return from Exile” is the first major exhibition of its kind, celebrating contemporary artistic expressions from descendents of tribal nations that have historical roots in Georgia, including the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Muscogee (or Creek) and Seminole tribes. More than 30 artists represent their cultural heritage through painting, sculpture, large-scale installation and traditional craftwork like jewelry and basketry. The exhibition is the culmination of a two-year collaborative effort by tribal descendants and artistic or scholarly experts in the field of Native American studies.

The title of the exhibition refers to the forced displacement of Native Americans from their historic land in the 1830s, and effectively creates a line of reintroduction of the tribal artists to the general American public. The exhibition and the accompanying symposium provide a much-needed platform for the Native American voice, which does not typically receive mainstream artistic or social attention.

“Return from Exile” was co-curated by a team of academic professionals and members of tribal nations. The curators include professor Jace Weaver, director of the Institute of Native American Studies at UGA; Tony Tiger, former chair for the art department at Bacone College in Oklahoma and a featured artist in the exhibition; and B.C. Martin of the Arkansas John Brown University. The curators will speak alongside eight of the exhibition’s featured artists at Saturday’s symposium.

Symposium Schedule:

Artists Panel, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. This discussion panel will feature eight of the 32 artists participating in the exhibition: Roy Boney, Starr Hardridge, Troy Jackson, Bob Martin, America Meredith, Jessica Osceola, Erin Shaw and Tony Tiger.

Gallery Tours, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tours will be led by exhibition artists PAR Ramey and Faren Crews at the top of every hour (excluding noon) throughout the day. Groups will meet in the lobby.

12–1 p.m. Break for lunch.

Scholar Panel, 1–2:30 p.m. “Dimensions of Southeastern Indian Art” will be lead by three scholars in the field of Native American art and culture, including Heather Ahtone, the James T. Bialac Assistant Curator of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma; William Wiggins, professor emeritus of the University of Arkansas; and curator Jace Weaver.

Open Discussion, 2:30–4 p.m. Q&A with the artists and scholars.

The Lyndon House will hold an opening reception on Thursday, Sept. 10 from 6–8 p.m. The arts center will also host a free public screening of the film This May Be The Last Time on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. A Q&A opportunity with the film’s director Sterlin Harjo and co-curator Weaver will follow the screening.

The exhibition, which opened on Saturday, Aug. 22, will remain on view through Friday, Oct. 16. Gallery hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12–9 p.m. and Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. The center is closed on Saturdays when there is a UGA home football game. For more information, visit the website or call the Lyndon House at 706-613-3623.