Taking a Fritz Scholder group portrait of IAIA faculty and the legacy of the institution's first artistic director, Lloyd Kiva New, as starting points, Finding a Contemporary Voice: The Legacy of Lloyd Kiva New and IAIA includes work from the New Mexico Museum of Art's collection by IAIA faculty and alumni from the 1960s to the present such as Scholder, Neil Parsons, T.C. Cannon, Melanie Yazzie, Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie and Will Wilson. The exhibition opens Saturday, May 21, 2016 and runs through Oct. 10, 2016. The Museum of Art's free to the public exhibition opening is on Friday, May 20 from 5.30 to 7.30pm.
Finding a Contemporary Voice complements concurrent exhibitions at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (A New Century: The Life and Legacy of Cherokee Artist and Educator Lloyd "Kiva" New) and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art Lloyd Kiva New: Art, Design, and Influence. All three exhibitions and associated symposia, lectures and other events celebrate the centennial of Native American artist Lloyd Kiva New's birth by focusing on key aspects of his significant contributions to contemporary Native culture.
New (Cherokee, 1916-2002) encouraged looking at innovative techniques and forms as a path to creating contemporary indigenous art. IAIA's founding in 1962 intersects with a significant moment in the history of western art when ethnicity and culture, political ideology, feminism, and the inclusion of personal narratives became legitimate forms of expression in mainstream contemporary art. IAIA's early years were also an era of consciousness raising and civil rights movements in the United States. Native American self-determination was a major issue for many indigenous artists.
Enough time has passed that the early days of IAIA, looking back half a century now, can be historicized and examined in greater context. The institution was founded during a period of great change and spurred shifts in how indigenous artists viewed themselves and their art, paving the way for Native American artists to take their place in the global contemporary art field. Looking at the issues of identity still being raised in contemporary Native American art, it is clear that the artwork of the 1960s and 70s began a conversation that continues to this day.