Beadwork: An American Indian Art with Global Roots overview photo

Beadwork: An American Indian Art with Global Roots

  • Type:Campbell Gallery
  • Duration:Temporary

(date) 6/27/2017–7/30/2017

Beadwork is among the most recognizable and cherished American Indian art forms. The tiny glass beads known as seed beads were first brought from Europe and are now imported from locations as distant as Japan. We might view traditional clothing, tools, or foods as evidence that cultural practices are stable and unchanging. This exhibit uses a single beaded shirt from the American Southwest to investigate that assumption.

By taking up technologies, tools, and techniques that meet their own needs, people everywhere adopt the ideas and objects of others. Contact between groups of people takes place through processes that might be intentional, unintentional, forced, or a combination of all three and can result in the movement of people, ideas, or technologies. Practices can be brought to new communities directly through travel, migration or colonization; via indirect communication; or simply through the objects traded many times, making their way to otherwise unconnected people.