Diverse peoples have been making art in North America since time immemorial. This gallery includes a wide range of materials and subjects that embody the resilience, continuity, and transformations of Native American cultures and nations across time and place. Here, artworks from regions across the continent—the Great Lakes, Eastern United States, Plains, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest including the Arctic—enter conversations with one another in ways that transcend their makers’ distance in time and geography. Ancient Mississippian pottery was among the first works of art to enter the MFA’s collection, in 1876. Nineteenth- and 20th-century Mi’kmaq quillwork, Pueblo pottery and weaving, Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) carving, and Lakota beadwork represent some of the objects that Indigenous artists made for both community use and cross-cultural trade. Works of modern and contemporary art like Jacquie Stevens’s Vessel (1987) and Stan Natchez’s Guernica to Wounded Knee (2012) demonstrate new interpretations of traditional themes and techniques. Since the opening of the Art of the Americas Wing in 2010, this gallery has been dedicated to including Indigenous cultures in the history of American art. In collaboration with Indigenous community members, the MFA continues to work on strengthening its representation of Native artists, histories, and perspectives on view. This gallery amplifies Indigenous voices, setting a model for future installations across the Art of the Americas Wing.
- Native North American Art Gallery (Gallery LG34)