Words by Staff
Photos by Chad Nance
In honor of the opening of “George Catlin’s American Buffalo” the Guilford Native American Association gave Reynolda House a neighborly hand to conduct a blessing ceremony outside of the museum in an area known as the Sunken Garden. Ray Silva, an elder from the Navajo-Pueblo Nation will conduct the ceremony in traditional regalia, accompanying himself on the hand drum and flute. Silva is an artist whose media include oil painting, wood sculpture, dance, flute, hand drum, and traditional dance. Blessing ceremonies are traditional in American Indian culture to symbolically renew and purify a space where the community’s hopes are temporary centered, in this case on the museum.
“George Catlin’s American Buffalo” presents 40 paintings from the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. George Catlin (1796-1872) was one of the first painters of European heritage to depict Native Americans. The exhibition explores Catlin’s representations of the indigenous people of the Great Plains in the early decades of the 19th century and the centrality of the buffalo to their cultures. In vivid canvases often marked by dramatic action, Catlin demonstrated the importance of the buffalo for sustenance, for housing and clothing, and in spiritual ceremonies in the lives of Plains Indian tribes.
You find out more about the new exhibition including tickets and schedules HERE.