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Highlights Archives

Exhibit Tells Ancient Stories Through Artwork


A title graphic for the new exhibit, Sisters in Spirit: Native American Stories in Rocks and Beads.

Wisconsin is a unique amalgam of immigrant and native populations. Living together in complicated relationships for hundreds of years, both peoples have shaped the state in which we live. Now a new exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum, Sisters in Spirit: Native American Stories in Rocks and Beads, displays the works of two artists — one Oneida and one from European stock — who both hear the whispers of the original occupants of our shared home. When their work is viewed together, the viewer gets a compelling glimpse of the continuing influence of Native Americans on contemporary Wisconsin art. Through their art, the ancient stories of our land speak again.

Two Artists, Unique Perspectives

Traditional Iroquois raised beadwork by Karen Ann Hoffman
Traditional Iroquois raised beadwork
by Karen Ann Hoffman
Geri Schrab is an award-winning watercolorist. She has seen the stories the old ones left for us in their ancient rock art. Geri shares these ancient messages in compelling watercolors that bring out the hidden places where the old stories were scratched into solid rock or painted on rock outcroppings. Looking these ancient images, one can imagine the warm sun, hear the lapping of the water on the shoreline and ponder the messages the original artists of our shared land left for us.

Karen Ann Hoffman uses her Oneida tribe's traditional Iroquois raised beadwork to celebrate the iconic legends of the Haudenosaunee — the five nations of the Iroquois people. In her beadwork (example shown at right), these ancient stories sparkle in glass beads sprinkled across rich velvet. The materials provide a bridge between contemporary Indian people and their ancient roots. Hoffman's beadwork gives voice to the whispers of the long-gone storytellers who reach out to us across the centuries. Her work has been collected by the Smithsonian Institution and displayed in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

If You Go

Sisters in Spirit runs through November 2. For complete details on hours of operation, admission, location and directions, accessibility and other specifics, visit the museum's visitor information pages.

:: Posted July 5, 2013

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