Sharing Honors and Burdens: Renwick Invitational 2023 is the tenth installment of the series. Established in 2000, the Renwick Invitational showcases mid-career and emerging makers deserving of wider national recognition. The exhibition is organized by guest curator Lara M. Evans (Cherokee Nation), founding director of the Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and current vice president of programs for First Peoples Fund, with Nora Atkinson, the Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator in Charge at the Renwick Gallery.
SAAM's Renwick Gallery is the only venue for this exhibition.
It is the first time that artists chosen for the Renwick Invitational are all Native Americans and Alaska Natives. All are members of separate sovereign nations: Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska, Nenana Native Association, Wabanaki Confederacy, Okanagan Nation, and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The artists were selected by a panel of distinguished jurors, including Lara Evans; Miranda Belarde-Lewis (Zuni/Tlingit), independent curator and the Jill and Joe McKinstry Endowed Faculty Fellow of Native North American Indigenous Knowledge at the University of Washington’s iSchool; and Anya Montiel (Mexican/Tohono O’odham descent), curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Joe Feddersen (b. 1953, resides Omak, Washington) is a celebrated printmaker, glass artist, and basket weaver. He is known for uniting urban imagery and Indigenous design through simple geometric “glyphs” that poignantly reflect on people’s relationship with the environment.
Lily Hope (b. 1980, resides Juneau, Alaska) and Ursala Hudson (b. 1987, resides Pagosa Springs, Colorado) are an artist duo and sisters, daughters of renowned weaver Clarissa Rizal (Tlingit). They work in the Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving styles. Hope is an artist, teacher, community facilitator, and storyteller who intertwines Indigenous techniques and spiritual teachings in her work. Hudson, a graphic designer by training, is known for her bold and award-winning designs.
Erica Lord (b. 1978, resides Santa Fe, New Mexico) is an interdisciplinary artist born to a Finnish American mother and an Athabaskan/Iñupiat father. She explores themes of displacement, cultural identity, and cultural limbo within the contemporary Indigenous experience. Her work is inspired by the personal experience of perpetually moving between locations, cultures, and identities. Lord’s fiber and weaving works featured in the exhibition challenge notions of self, community, and belief.
Geo Neptune (b. 1988, resides Motahkomikuk, Maine) is a master basket maker who is two-spirit, a term that acknowledges different gender identities and societal/spiritual roles present among Native people of North America. They learned basketry at a young age from their grandmother, master artist Molly Neptune (Passamaquoddy), and approach weaving as an inherently sacred practice. Neptune takes inspiration from traditional forms and interjects their own artistic perspective and a bright palette into their work.
Maggie Thompson (b. 1990, resides Minneapolis, Minnesota), a fiber artist and designer, derives inspiration from her Ojibwe heritage, exploring family history and broader themes relating to her Native American experience. Thompson expands the understanding of textiles by incorporating multimedia elements like photographs, beer caps, and 3D-printed objects into her work.
The exhibition includes thirteen new artworks that were created within the past year in addition to three pieces the museum commissioned specifically for the exhibition: Between Worlds (Child’s Robe) by Lily Hope, Sister Bear by Ursala Hudson and The Codes We Carry by Erica Lord. The museum acquired Joe Feddersen’s Horses and Deer in 2021, and anticipates acquiring works by all of the featured artists for its permanent collection.
Sharing Honors and Burdens: Renwick Invitational 2023 is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation Endowment provides support for the Renwick Invitational. The Cohen Family’s generosity in creating this endowment helps make possible this series highlighting outstanding craft artists who are deserving of wider national recognition.
Additional support has been provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Windgate Foundation, and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.