University of Minnesota Duluth block M and wordmark

September 18, 2012 - March 17, 2013




ENCODED: Traditional Patterns/A Contemporary Response creates an opportunity for five contemporary artists to exhibit their work in relation to The Richard E. and Dorothy Rawlings Nelson Collection of American Indian Art. The project responds to a general trend in contemporary museum practice to invite critical reflection, and to view responses to museum collections as a basis for art-making and exhibition development.


Featured artists: Emily Arthur | Tom Jones |

America Meredith | Henry Payer | Dyani White Hawk


Guest Curated by John Hitchcock


Opening Reception and Family Day

October 20, 2012

2 - 4 PM

Special Exhibition Gallery


Visual Culture Lecture Series with John Hitchcock

October 23, 2012

6 - 7 PM

UMD Montague Hall 70

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John Hitchcock


Hitchcock is a prolific and inventive printmaker and installation artist, a Professor of art at UW-Madison. He is the first guest curator working at the Tweed Museum of Art under the auspices of Perspectives and Parallels: Expanding Interpretive Foundations with American Indian Guest Curators and Arts Writers.

Emily W. Arthur (Eastern Band of the Cherokee, Descendant)


  Emily W. Arthur is an Associate Professor at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Arthur received an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and has served as a Fellow at the Barnes Foundation for Advanced Theoretical and Critical Research, Pennsylvania. Additional education includes the Rhode Island School of Design and the Tamarind Institute of Lithography at the University of New Mexico. Arthur is the recipient of a Florida Artist Enhancement Grant provided by the State of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts, and is awarded to the Notable Women in the Arts, National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, Leifur Eiriksson Foundation, St. Lawrence University, University of Arizona, University of Colorado, and the Southern Graphics Print Council International Collection.


Arthur has served as an International Artist in Residence in France and Japan with artists from the Diné/Navajo Nation. Arthur served in Italy at the 2011 Venice International Print Studios where she exhibited at the University of Ca” Foscari on Occasion of the Venice Biennale 54th International. International permanent collections include the nations of Iceland, Russia, Estonia, Ireland, France, Italy United Kingdom, India, Argentina, New Zealand, and Japan.


I see nature as an interdependent living force rather than as the backdrop for human events. Land is living matter that holds specific meaning to a place. This is the nature-based perspective through which I conduct my research. My fine art practice is informed by a concern for the environment, displacement, exile and the return home from dislocation and separation. I seek the unbroken relationship between modern culture and ancient lands which uses tradition and story to make sense of the enduring quest to understand our changing experience of home.


– EWA 2012

Tom Jones  


Tom Jones is an Assistant Professor of Photography at UW-Madison. He received his MFA in Photography and a MA in Museum Studies from Columbia College in Chicago, IL. Jones’ photographs examine identity and geographic place with an emphasis on the experience of American Indian communities. He is interested in the way that American Indian material culture is represented through popular/commodity culture, e.g. architecture, advertising, and self-representation. He continues to work on an ongoing photographic essay on the contemporary life of his tribe, the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin. He is critically assessing the romanticized representation of Native peoples in photography through the re-examination of historic pictures taken by white photographers. This reassessment questions the assumptions about identity within the American Indian culture by non-natives and Natives alike.


Jones is a co-author on the book “People of the Big Voice, Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaick, 1879-1943.” Jones’ work is in the collections of the National Museum of the American Indian, Polaroid Corporation, Sprint Corporation, The Chazen Museum of Art, The Nerman Museum, and Microsoft.


“This series is drawn from a current controversy in contemporary American Indian art that positions artists that claim their Native ancestry against those that prefer to minimize or even deny their Native heritage. This debate has come to be known as the “post-Indian” issue. I question if a denial of one’s cultural background is generated by mainstream Western art norms or if it is a form of identity genocide. Why do American Indian artists both claim Native ancestry (by utilizing Indian symbols or entering shows specifically geared towards Indian artists) and simultaneously reject classification as American Indian artists? This series addresses the tensions and multiplicity of identity referents currently at play in the context of our perceived “post-race” country. I am using plastic toy Indians and the genre of abstraction as a metaphor for what I perceive as a form of identity genocide. These photographs are scans of the bottom stands of these plastic toy Indians. I wanted to play with the fact that from above the Indian figures are fighting with one another, which the viewer cannot see. The perspective of the abstracted bases allows only a surface rendering of the complexity of Native identity in the 21st century.”


– Tom Jones


Mary America Lynn Meredith


America Meredith is a Swedish-Cherokee artist who blends historical styles from Native American and Europe with imagery from pop culture. Her influences range from Mississippian shell engravings, TV cartoons, and the Bacone style of painting. She is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, is a member of Squirrel Ridge Ceremonial Ground in Kenwood, Oklahoma, and serves on the board of the Cherokee Arts and Humanities Council, a grassroots, independent Cherokee organization interested in serving the rural Cherokee communities of northeastern Oklahoma.

The Cherokee language and syllabary figure prominently in her work, as it is the strongest visual imagery unique to her tribe. She creates pen and ink drawings, fumage, monotypes, and linoleum block printing, but her primary focus is painting – in acrylic, egg tempera, gouache, and watercolor.

America earned her MFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute and her BFA from the University of Oklahoma. She has shown throughout the United States and in Canada and Europe, including the Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Design and the United Nations Headquarters. In the last 15 years, she has won numerous awards at the Heard Museum, SWAIA's Indian Market, the Cherokee Heritage Center, and other competitive shows. She was a National Museum of the American Indian artist fellow in 2009, won the IAIA Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Contemporary Native American Arts in 2007, and was voted SF Weekly’s Painter of the Year in 2006. She is an independent curator and lecturer.

Henry Payer  


Henry Payer was born in 1986, in Sioux City, Iowa and is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. A 2008 graduate of Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), and a 2010 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison, Payer currently lives and works in Sun Prairie, WI.


Payer’s narrative compositions are bold and contemporary, filled with vibrant color. Referencing the altered landscape and European modernist models of cubism, spatial distortion and collage; each work offers a visual narrative of symbols and appropriated voices from American consumer society that reconfigures the identity of the portrait. Henry represents the work of a new generation of American Indian artists seeking to expand the range and voice of their visual and cultural representation, while attending to forms of tradition.


“My works are about my culture, the Winnebago or Ho Chunk people. Color is a strong element…inspired by the glass trade beads found in traditional Plains and Woodland beadwork.”- Henry Payer, in Ally Duncan Neely, Native Sun News, “Contemporary artists explore traditions,” May 16, 2011; accessed on


Dyani White Hawk


Dyani White Hawk currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is Sicangu Lakota, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Dyani earned her MFA in studio arts in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently the Arts Project Manager at the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where in 2012 she organized the popular and instructive exhibition Mni Sota, now finishing a 4-venue tour at the Tweed Museum of Art.


She completed a BFA in 2 dimensional arts in 2008 from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  White Hawk won the 2012 SWAIA Discovery Fellowship as well as Best of Division for Mixed Media works at the 2012 Santa Fe Indian Art Market.  In 2011 she won Best of Classification (Painting, Drawing, Graphics and Photography) at the Santa Fe Indian Art Market, as well as 1st place in painting at the Northern Plains Indian Art Market. She draws from her multi-cultural background and education to create paintings and mixed media works that speak to her upbringing as a Lakota woman in an urban American landscape. White Hawk is represented by the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, and the Shiprock Santa Fe Gallery


Artist's statement: " My work embraces the dilemmas and contradictions, as well as the joys and blessings of a cross-cultural existence. As a woman of Lakota and European ancestry my life experiences have ben a combination of both Western and Indigenous educations causing a continual negotiation of value systems and worldviews. Through the amalgamation of abstract symbols and motifs derivative of both Lakota and Western abstraction my artwork examines, dissects, and patches back otgether pieces of each in a means to provide an honest representation of self and culture ."



This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.
Tweed Museum of Art is a fiscal year 2013 recipient of an operating support grant program fom the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part, by the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.