“An act of survivance is Indigenous self-expression in any medium that tells a story about our active presence in the world now.”
— Gerald Vizenor
Survivance is a term coined by Anishinaabe scholar Gerald Vizenor to describe how Indigenous people have not only survived but actively resisted the ongoing pressures of settler colonialism in North America. Art is essential to survivance, as Indigenous artists have long fashioned objects that tell their stories and assert their agency to create. This exhibit, curated by students in Art 317: Native North American Art History, highlights historical and contemporary Native art from the museum’s permanent collection. Students contacted Native artists and other knowledge bearers in an effort to ensure accurate and respectful interpretations of the art on display. Aided as well by secondary sources and class discussions, our study resulted first in research papers on each object, then in this exhibition. We invite you to join us in studying these powerful expressions of Indigenous survivance, and to join the growing dialogue around Indigenous histories and futures in North America.
Survivance was curated under the guidance of Dr. Emily Moore, Associate Professor of Art History and Associate Curator of American Art. Student curators included Kristell Arauz, Austin Caswell, Annaliese Cole-Weiss, Abby Flitton, Preot F. Collins, Emily Gayle with Ryan Singer (Diné), Ethan Gordon, Maiya Hannon, Paige Hawthorne, Isabel Heiland with Michael Whetung (Ojibwe), Darby Hertel, Tessa Hoenig, Jasmine Holmes, Josie Johnson, Zach Leonard, Soo Min Kim, Travonn Redding, Cassidy Reed with Paul Sedillo (Diné), McKenzie Scaglione, Alec Schweiger, Sam Sedoryk, Mariah Shelby, Atnatewos Shiferaw, Clark Valentine, Molly Van Anne, Elliot Walch, and Trevor Willson.