The written language of the Cherokee has played an integral role in the last 200 years of the peoples’ history. Contrary to most writing systems, the Cherokee syllabary was invented and developed by a single person and adopted by its community within an incredibly short period of time. Sequoyah (circa 1776–1843) spent a decade leading up to 1821 devising a set of 87 characters that represented the syllables of the spoken language. This written syllabary not only conveyed to outsiders the Cherokee’s intellectual abilities and civilized culture but also served to reinforce cultural identity internally. In the 20th century, the number of native speakers and writers of Cherokee fell drastically, but the 21st century has seen a renewed effort to reestablish both the spoken and written language, including computer Unicode for the syllabary characters, bringing the language into the digital era.
Recently, many Cherokee artists have incorporated the syllabary into their visual art, from paintings and metalwork to baskets and animation. The intention may be different for each artist, but the widespread use of the syllabary as a visual element is indicative of its cultural importance, a 19th-century invention carried forward into the 21st century.
The exhibition will include works in a wide range of media, all by Cherokee artists working today. It is co-curated by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Asheville Art Museum. It will be on view at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian from spring to summer 2021, and at the Asheville Art Museum in fall 2021.
Artists who are enrolled members of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB), the Cherokee Nation (CN), and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) are eligible to apply for the exhibition. If a work is held in a private or public collection, the lender need not be affiliated with the UKB, CN, or ECBI.
CURATORS AND JURORS
Joshua Adams (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) works predominantly in the medium of wood sculpture but includes stone carvings, paintings, photography, molding, 3D printing, pottery, and videography in his portfolio. His work has been shown in several shows throughout the world. He is a proud member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians as well as an alumni of Western Carolina University. He is also a member of the esteemed Qualla Arts & Crafts Cooperative. Most recently Adams was included in the Asheville Art Museum’s Collection for the mask False-Faced God. In 2018 Adams was given the opportunity to participate in and curate Renewal of the Ancient, a Cherokee millennial-artist showcase. The exhibition was organized in cooperation with the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. Adams is part of a long lineage of Cherokee woodcarvers, starting with his family James “Red” & Irma Bradley. He also had the privilege to study under renowned Cherokee artist Dr. James Bud Smith and was directly influenced by legendary Cherokee artists Amanda Crowe and John Julius Wilnoty.
Hilary Schroeder is assistant curator at the Asheville Art Museum. She focuses primarily on art of the 20th and 21st centuries and was coordinator for Museum’s reinstallation of its Collection under a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. She recently curated the exhibition Reverberations: Exploring Movement in the Collection and was the site curator for the exhibitions Dancing Atoms: Barbara Morgan Photographs (organized by the Syracuse University Art Galleries) and Andy Warhol: Silver Clouds (organized by the Andy Warhol Museum). Schroeder received her undergraduate degree from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, with a major in art history and a minor in German studies. In 2015, she completed her graduate degree in art history at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.
- Artists are only required to submit one work in order to be considered for the exhibition.
- Submissions may include works in progress, so long as the work will be completed before the May 1, 2021 delivery deadline.
- Submissions may include works in all media, including digital media and performance, as well as books, comics, and other literary works produced in the Cherokee Syllabary.
- Images: Artists may submit up to five original works for consideration. Please submit one or two image(s) per work. Images of works must be at least 500 KB and at most 5 MB. Please include a description of the work.
- Audio: Artists may submit up to two original audio works. Please include a description of the work. If the digital file exceeds the allowed limit, please include a web link.
- Video: Artists may submit up to two original video or performance works. Please include a description of the work. If the digital file exceeds the allowed limit, please include a web link.
- For works that require special installation, please include instructions in the description of the work.
- All accepted works must be ready for hanging/installation.
- Accepted works must be available for the duration of the exhibition installation and exhibition. No substitutions of works will be permitted.
DATES AND DEADLINES
- Submission deadline: Extended to December 31, 2020!
- All artists notified by email: February 1, 2021
- Deadline to receive all shipped and hand-delivered artwork at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian: May 1, 2021
- Exhibition dates: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Cherokee, NC, May 28–October 31, 2021 | Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC, November 18, 2021–March 14, 2022
ABOUT THE VENUES
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate the history, culture, and stories of the Cherokee People.
Established by artists and incorporated in 1948, the Asheville Art Museum is committed to being a vital force in community and individual development and to providing lifelong opportunities for education and enrichment through the visual arts.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Email Hilary Schroeder, assistant curator, or call 828.253.3227 x128 with any questions about the open call or for assistance with the submission form.