April 1st - November 30th
Oil & Water is an exhibit of 42 works by Ernest Smith, Jim Beaver, and Jesse Cornplanter and related programming. The paintings and drawings will be explored in the context of cultural assimilation and reclamation, and the WPA Indian Arts Project. The Iroquois experience from 1800 to the 1950s was distinguished by US government policies of removal, assimilation, and the dismantling of traditional languages and lifeways. In the face of such cultural upheaval, very few Haudenosaunee painters from this period were documented, and even less so, celebrated. European-style instruction in drawing and painting was commonplace in the government and church-run residential schools of the era. Portrayal or interpretation of traditional stories, cultural beliefs and practices using these formal mediums was widely discouraged. Beaver, Smith, and Cornplanter were among the few Iroquois who embraced painting despite these obstacles.
Exhibition sponsored in part by a Humanities NY Action grant.