New Native American Storytelling Exhibits on Display in Mullins Library

Pieces from the 'Stories, Visions and Memory Contemporary Southeastern Indian Art' exhibit.
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Pieces from the 'Stories, Visions and Memory Contemporary Southeastern Indian Art' exhibit.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Three new exhibits with a common theme of Native American storytelling can now be seen in Mullins Library at the University of Arkansas. One exhibit features artwork created by three Native American artists, another features Native American objects from University of Arkansas Museum Collections, and the third is a display of Native American artifacts from the Arkansas Archeological Survey.

‘Stories, Visions and Memory: Contemporary Southeastern Indian Art,’ with work by Native artists Bobby Martin, Tony Tiger and Erin Shaw, is on display throughout the lobby level of Mullins Library until April 26.

Martin is an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) tribe and is highly involved in the contemporary Native art world. His work has been exhibited and collected internationally.

“These images are my lifeline to a past and a history that I didn’t discover until well into adulthood, things we rarely spoke about, but that I now realize are a source of inspiration and pride for our family,” said Martin, whose work in this exhibit is based on his personal family photos.

Chickasaw-Choctaw artist Erin Shaw creates in a state of tension, suspended between two worlds. Humor pervades her art and reveals truths in unanticipated ways.

“My work as an artist rests in this simple assertion: We are collectors of stories, and the stories we collect shape the people we are,” said Shaw. “I work in this manner that I might see things in a new way.”

Tony A. Tiger is an enrolled member of the Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma with Seminole and Muscogee (Creek) lineage. He is a painter, mixed media and conceptual artist, independent art curator and art educator who is active in the Southeastern Indian Artist Association and his community.

“Because of pop culture and TV, we have these visions in our head of what the [Native American] culture is, but it’s so different today,” said Tiger. “We’re really trying with this body of work to show what it means to be a Native American in the 21st century.”

A second exhibit, ‘Cultivated Narratives: Native American Artifacts and the Stories They Perpetuate,’ is featured in a display case in the center of the lobby level of the library for the spring semester. The exhibit features selected objects used for Native storytelling from the University of Arkansas Museum Collections, including game equipment, arrows, bottles, shells and a rattle.

“[This exhibit] gave us an opportunity to put out a variety of Native American objects, both historic and pre-historic,” said Mary Suter, curator for the University of Arkansas Museum Collections.

‘Images That Endure: The Craft of Arkansas Indigenous Storytelling’ is on display in the Helen Robson Walton Reading Room of Mullins Library through March 2017. This exhibit includes artifacts and visuals associated with Native American storytelling in Arkansas, including ceramic vessels, photos, drawings, carved figures, musical instruments and pipes. Items were curated from the University of Arkansas Museum Collections, Caddo Heritage Museum, Northwestern State University of Louisiana and Kricket Rhoads Conneywerdy.

“In this exhibit, we learn about storytelling among contemporary Native Americans, examine storytelling as a means to preserve and transmit information, and trace the legacy of storytelling to its ancient past,” said George Sabo III, director of the Arkansas Archeological Survey.

These exhibits are part of the University Libraries’ "Explore Native American Storytelling through Arts, Literature, and Culture" program, which features guest speakers and rotating exhibits throughout the academic year.

About University of Arkansas Libraries: Located at the heart of campus, David W. Mullins Library is the university’s main research library. Branch libraries include the Robert A. and Vivian Young Law Library, the Fine Arts Library, the Physics Library, and the Chemistry and Biochemistry Library. The Libraries provide access to more than 2 million volumes and 53,000 journals, and also offer individual and group research help, study spaces, computer labs with printing and scanning, interlibrary loan and RazorRush services, and cultural exhibits and events. The Libraries’ Special Collections unit acquires, preserves, and provides access to materials on Arkansas and the region, its customs and people, and its cultural, physical, and political climate. Visit the Libraries’ web page at to learn more about services and collections.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Kelsey Lovewell Lippard, public relations coordinator
University Libraries

Martha Guirl-Phillips, administrative assistant to the dean
University Libraries
479-575- 6702,

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