Altars of Reconciliation Reception

On Saturday, August 3th, the Seminole Nation Museum opened its doors to nearly 85 guests for the opening of the Altars of Reconciliation exhibit. Visitors to the museum came from across the state and as far away as Texas to witness a one-of-a-kind art exhibit featuring contemporary Native American artists Tony Tiger, Erin Shaw and Bobby C. Martin.

Altars of Reconciliation is a unique exhibit that speaks about how Christianity is depicted in Native American Culture. It helps to eliminate the stereotype that Native Americans who are followers of Christianity were “assimilated” rather than responsible for choosing their own faith. Each artist has their own stories, struggles and realizations that are apparent in their works, and each are successful in conveying their emotions through their bold use of color, their medium of choice and their use of cultural overtones.

A welcoming speech was delivered by Assistant Chief of the Seminole Nation, Lewis Johnson, followed by a brief prayer 
inthe Mvskoke language by retired Chief Justice of the Seminole Nation Supreme Court and past President of the Seminole Nation Historical Society, William Wantland. After this the guests were invited to walk through the exhibit. The artists, who had just returned from art panel discussions in England, were at all times available to answer any questions their viewers might have.  Each spent a great deal of time with the guests and were delighted at the reaction of the crowd and their participation in this event.

Near the end of the day, the artists had the opportunity to speak about their individual pieces and give a more in-depth view of how art and Christianity shaped their futures, and also how they decided to exhibit their own works together. They credit the diversity of their past experiences and the way Christianity plays a role in their lives for the success they’ve found in being a part of each-others’ lives. In exhibiting their work as a collection, it is easy to see the complex nature of faith and the struggle to overcome a conventionalized view of Native American spirituality.

Altars of Reconciliation is scheduled to be exhibited at the Seminole Nation Museum until December 31st, 2019. Those who did not have the opportunity to meet and speak to the artists at the reception will be pleased to know that the artists will be returning to the museum during the Wewoka Sorghum Festival, October 26, 2019, for another chance to view their exhibit alongside guests.