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'Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass' needs to be seen... multiple times

A friend asked me to describe the exhibition, "Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass," currently on view at the Wichita Art Museum. I used one word: “Overwhelming.” This exhibition cannot be adequately taken in with one visit. The show features 115 works by 29 Native American artists and four Pacific Rim Artists. Artifacts which may be presented in other Native American shows, made of clay, wood, stone, woven grass, or leather are here, all rendered in colorful, glorious glass. Various techniques such as sand blasting have been utilized.

Among my favorite pieces were three vessels resembling human heads, one by Preston Singletary of the Tlinget People, and 2 by Marcus Amerman of the Choctaw Tribe. The three vessels were inspired by clay jars found in archeological digs of ancient villages of the Mississippian Culture. One’s mouth open as if in shock, one bearing a toothy grin, and the last staring as if in a deep and soulful trance. Literally every piece in this show left me in wonder. And the work delves much, much deeper than the obvious and incredible beauty. The spiritualism and meaning behind every work in this show simply cannot be described by the likes of someone like me. I think to truly know the real depth of this work one would have to be a blood American, like the very the people who made these pieces--the people who were here for thousands of years before immigrants, like me, hit these shores.

I will go back because I must see it again. The show runs through September 10th.

Curt Clonts is a Wichita-born artist who volunteers as KMUW's art reviewer. When Curt isn’t working in his College Hill studio he is usually spending time with his wife, kids, and grandkids. He also spends the spring and summer months kayaking and camping.