Block curators focus on converging Indigenous art in Tulsa partnership

The city of ‘Tvlv’hasse (“Old town”) / Tvlse-Locvpokv / Tvlse (also known as Tulsa) is located at the intersections of the Muscogee Nation, Cherokee Nation and Osage Nation reservations. Tvlse and the greater land base of Indian Territory have served as a place of convergence and gathering for Indigenous Nations since time immemorial. This location served as inspiration for two members of The Block team who opened a group exhibition TVLSE: Converging Indigenous Art in Tulsa in April 2022

Jordan Poorman Cocker ([Gáuigú ), 2021-2024 Terra Foundation Guest Co-Curator of Indigenous Art, and Lois Taylor Biggs (White Earth Ojibwe and Cherokee Nation), Terra Foundation Curatorial Research Fellow, partnered with Tulsa Artist Fellow, Yatika Starr Fields (Osage, Cherokee, and Muscogee) on the project which, ties together threads of Indigenous story and experience by presenting diverse contemporary artworks coalescing around the city of Tulsa and its histories.

The exhibition showcases poetry, film, photography, textiles, and paintings by prominent artists with relations to these lands including Joy Harjo (Mvskoke [Muscogee (Creek) Nation]), Sterlin Harjo (Seminole Nation, (Mvskoke [ Muscogee (Creek) Nation], Anita Fields  (WahZhaZhi [Osage] & Mvskoke [Muscogee (Creek) Nation]), Teri Greeves ([Gáuigú ), Moira RedCorn (WahZhaZhi [Osage] & Caddo), Ryan RedCorn (WahZhaZhi [Osage]), Leah Palmer (Chahta [Choctaw Nation]), and Courtney Biggs (White Earth Ojibwe and Cherokee Nation). Guided by three themes, Placemaking, Sovereignty, and Kinship, TVLSE  celebrates the relationships Indigenous peoples carry between ancestral territories and treaty lands; the power of abstraction as an intergenerational expression of sovereignty; and the resilience of kinship relations between community and place. 

The exhibition is on view April 29 – June 8, 2022 at Tulsa Artist Fellowship | Flagship.

Yatika Starr Fields, Jordan Poorman Cocker, Lois Biggs

The curators reflect on the ways in which their work in Tulsa informs and deepens their ongoing research at the Block, which includes developing an exhibition focused on an Indigenous art history of Chicago.

The artworks on view reflect our broader understanding of Indigenous Art as a means and measuring stick for building deeper partnerships with Indigenous Nations. Our thematic understandings and dedication to the sovereignty of Indigenous art will inform our efforts within and beyond this exhibition. TVLSE enacts ongoing convergence of Indigenous arts and communities in the Tvlse area. We included these histories within our project title and long-term curatorial vision, inspired by the past, present and future contexts this land holds. 

TVLSE: Converging Indigenous Art, is one step in the footpath of many toward the development of a gallery space and cafe in Tvlse that holds space for and is led by urban Indigenous communities, voices, and stories.

– TVLSE Curatorial Statement

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